Urgent Question On Portioning, Please Help

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by kaneohegirlinaz, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    I am new to throwing cocktail parties, please help everyone.

    I’m having 8 people over next Friday and I am serving heavy hor d’oeuvres. 

    I plan to have:
    1. 5 different Italian meats  and 5 different cheeses
    2.  a cold antipasti platter of all the usual veggies
    3. a chaffing dish of mini meatballs in marinara sauce
    4. deep dish Pizza squares
    5.  rolled Stromboli, sliced
    6. Spinach and Fontina Fritatta squares
    7.  a tray of mini Cannolis with coffee
    Now, my urgent question is this:

    How much of the meats do I buy?

    I googled and the answer was 3 ounces for each person, is that really going to cut it?

    At about $30 per pound, I don’t want too much waste.

    And then what about the cheeses?  How much of those should I get?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    That's way too much.  3oz TOTAL per person is more like it.
     
  3. benway

    benway

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    As a rule of thumb for hor d'oeuvres I've heard banquet chefs figure 2.5ea/person  You can move that down if you've got a lot of options or if you're ok with running out, etc.  I'd use that as a starting spot.
     
  4. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    I should add on …  the guests will more than likely be staying long beyond dinner time … and my husband wants to insure that we have enough food …
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Let me first suggest that, even if you intend an Italian theme, that there are two many items that are samee-same. You might want to rethink your selections, and look at a broader taste variation. With 7 items you have unlimited choices. And, frankly, I think 7 choices of that nature are too many in the first place.

    For instance, instead of the 5/meats 5/cheeses you might want to put out a seafood item, then combine fewer meats and cheese on the antipasti platter. Keep in mind, too, that unless you roll or otherwise shape the meats and cheeses so they are more hand-held friendly people will be looking for bread or crackers to support them.

    By the same token, I don't see any need for both pizza and stromboli, particularly when you specified deep-dish, which is pretty filling on its own.

    A lot of this depends on how much time you have to prepare things. Not only can you make it a feast for the eye as well as the mouth, you can stretch the budget. One example: Make a batch of panelle and cut in small rounds. Deep fry them. Then top each with a dollop of tomato coulis with a shrimp nested in it. Using 16-20 sized shrimp for this means you can easily get by with a heavy pound of shrimp. Have the fish guy count them, rather than just weigh them. 21 shrimp will yeild 3 each for your group.

    BTW, that raises another issue. Instead of buying by the pound, order your deli items by the slice. For instance, let's say you want to include mortadella, and decide on two per person. Have the deli guy just make you 14 slices. And so forth.

    Instead of the deep-dish pizza, maybe arancini would make a good substitute; it's very inexpensive, provides a different flavor profile, and is finger-friendly.

    To anwer your basic question, however, and assuming this party is in lieu of dinner, I would figure on 2-3 of each "appetizer" per person. This would be modified both by the inherent bulk of each item, plus the size you decide to make (i.e., how big are those mini-meatballs?). Also keep in mind that not everyone will choose all the items.

    So, using a revised menu such as I suggest, I'd be looking at something like:

    1. Panelle rounds with tomato & shrimp: Three each.

    2. Antipasti platter with three meats (4 slices each, formed into cones or rolls), 3 cheeses (four slices each, rolled or the equivilent cut in wedges), and assorted veggies.

    3. Mini-meatballs in marinara: 3 each.

    4. Arancini: 2 each @ tablespoon sized.

    5. Stromboli: 2-3 slices each, depending on thickness.

    6. Spinach & fontina squares, @ 1 1/2 inches: 2 each.

    7. Mini cannolis: 2 each. 

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    heh kuan, thanks so much and you too benway; kyheirloomer i'll take your advice under consideration
     
  7. panini

    panini

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    I would cut the menu even more and increase the quantities. 

     7 items  8 people  You might end up with 3 trays picked quickly.

    Arancini...do 36 and omitt the meatballs. You can have marinara with the rice balls

    This way you won't run out throughout the night.

    I do this for poker night. Hey, but what do I know???Pisan/img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    I would cut the menu even more and increase the quantities. 

    Certainly my inclination as well, Jeff. I was just trying to keep within the OPs parameters. But 7 dishes for 8 people is a bit much. Given my druthers, I'd go with three or four and up the quantities as you suggest. Given the above list, I would opt for:

    1. Panelle rounds with tomato coulis and shrimp.

    2. Arancini. If with marinara I would kick it up a bit to bring some spiciness to the rice.

    3. Spinach & fontina squares.

    4. Mini cannolis

    What we have here is a selection in which each item has a distinct visual look and flavor profile, and enough variation to satisfy everyone's taste. I would make at least 32 of each, with 36 a better target number to my mind.
     
  9. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Ok so Panini, since you’ve served arancini for Pocker Night, are they finger friendly?

     (I made them one time for a family dinner and they fell apart, am I maybe doing something wrong?)

    I don’t have appetizer forks …

    And both you and KYheirloomer feel that only 4 platters are better, just up the quantity?   
     
  10. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    ... my husband is italian i'm hawaiian/portuguese/swedish/danish and a bunch of other stuff ... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smiles.gif
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    That's correct, Kaneohe. I'd go with four platters, but more of each. And, basically, drop the really heavy stuff. If there's going to be a pause before cofee (and if this is a cocktail party there certainly should be), I'd include a fourth "entree" platter, and then the mini-cannolis with the coffee. Obviously, you don't need as many pieces per with the dessert tray.

    Arancini should be finger-friendly. Only thing that would prevent that is if they are sitting in sauce for any length of time. So maybe you didn't prepare them correctly the first time? What I would do is stack them, pyramid style, on a platter, with any sauce in a heated dish alongside.

    I don’t have appetizer forks …

    That's why God gave us toothpicks.

    Seriously, picks---both plastic and wooden---now come in a myriad of designs, including mini-forks. Even supermarkets stock more than the simple straight pick. Or check with a party store.

    BTW, by "finger-foods" or "finger-friendly" we don't necessarily mean you have to pick up the item with your fingers.  What it means is that the item does not have to be plated, but can be eaten out-of-hand. Picks, skewers, spoons, etc., as well as fingers, are all part of that concept.

    I also wonder about that $30/pound figure you provided. What, exactly, is that referring to? Certainly not the cold cuts. If you adapt my suggestions, not even to the shrimp---which is the most expensive item on that menu.

    I live in an area were, if it's even available, specialty deli is expensive. Serrano ham, for instance, can run $25-28/pound. But normal stuff is way below that, with Boar's Head products averaging around $7/pound, and better brands around $9. Imported meats are typically in the $12-15/pound range.

    On the menu I suggested, the shrimp should be the most expensive single item. Wild-caught 16-20s were recently on sale, here, and I stocked up. But normally they're in the $12-16 range this time of year. At the high end, the entire tray of panelle should cost in the mid-$30s, when all is said and done.

    FWIW, here is the arancini recipe I use:

    3 cups chilled mushroom risotto

    36 small cubes mozzarella (about 3 oz)

    1/2 cup all purpose flour

    3 large eggs, beaten

    1 1/2 cups fine breadcrumbs

    Oil for frying.

    With wet hands, roll the risotto into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Poke a small hole in the center of each and push in a cube of cheese, covering it with the rice and reshaping into a ball.

    Arrange the flour, eggs, and crumbs in a 3-station line. Bread the balls and transfer to a parchment-lined baking pan.

    Fry balls, in batches, at 350F until golden brown and drain on a rack.

    Instead of mozzarella, other cheeses, sausage, or even pitted olives can be used for the surprise centers.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Sure a big selection, the more choice you give the worse off you are..You dont want guess to stand there and think.

           First since we do not know what kind of meats and cheese ,it is hard to tell you but I can tell you they will grab prossuitto faster then salami. I suggest 3 kinds only 2 slices of each. Cheeses same applies forget veges you already have an antipasto.

        Forget pizza (to common)  but stromboli is ok 2 med.  slices pp. Meat balls 3 pp 1 ounce balls. Antipasto grilled veges, roasted peppers,olives,gardenierra, pepperoncini. 1 tray. Spinach squares depends on size of square 2 each ave.

         Cannolis they will eat a lot especially the men 3 each woman 1 or 2 each  Have cocktail naps, small plates 6 or 7 inch . wooden long party pix(I dont like plastic ones with hot food).Have a plate or a place where they can put used pix. so it's not on your floor .

    Keep in mind this is a cocktail party not a dinner and both you and guest know that. If anything buy some extra dessert if they are staying like Pignoli macaroon cookies,or mini italian pastry.

         Also a guest consumption is based on total weights of the foods. Example if they eat some of everything it should come out to about  8 to 10 ounces pp plus dessert and coffee. You do not have to have a half pound of each item per person.  Make sure you have xtra garbage bags.

        Set air conditioning xtra cold before they arrive as once there the room will warm up as everyone throws out 98 degrees plus oven and chaffing dish heat.  Good Luck have a nice party
     
  13. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    LOL Chefedb  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif

    My husband probably could polish off the entire tray of cannolis, his fav!!

    We have a gourmet type of market some ways from our home,

    but I can get everything there.  A little spendy, but really great product.

    And, thank you for the thought about the AC, I would never have thought of that one!
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    All of my figures are based on (oer the years ) of average consumption. Good luck with your shin dig
     
  15. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    What kind Hawaiian girl no have Da kine Pupu's, Ono Lomi Lomi Salmon, Brok Da Mout Pipikaula, Poke, just some good Grinds Sista............Hope you had fun with your party, I had to throw this at you, your getting to mainland....................ChefBillyb

    P.S. I did my first large catering at Hanauma bay, Huli Huli Chicken buffet.........I took my family there last Dec, boy has that place changed. Walking down the road I saw the old stairs leading up to the old parking lot, it brought back a lot of good memories of eating Kings Hawaiian bread and OJ early morning on the beach.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2011
    kaneohegirlinaz likes this.
  16. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    Heh funny.  :)  One time I was sharing a table with some kids who had never been to the mainland.  They kept wondering when the rice was going to come.
     
  17. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    LOL!!!
    Oh my!!  [tears running down my face]


    Braddahs I was going make da kine, but these folks no like!!  That's what my husband wanted me to make at first!! [ya' know I never made sushi before? Just Spam Musubi]

    LOL!!

    I said to this one lady that I make rice with just about every meal and she just laughed.  No really!!  Our rice cooker broke when we first got here, OMG!!!  Had my brother-in-law in Kahuku send me a new one!!
     
  18. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Ya Killin' me ChefBillyB!!

    I can smell the Huli Chicken now!!

    Went home last summer and gained 10 pounds!!
     
  19. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Where was this? 

    I fell very lucky, my Mom is from Cali, so we would spend a lot of summers there, but yea, plenty of kids in Hawaii never leave which ever island thy're on
     
  20. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    We are going back again for Christmas, I'm looking forward to it already.