I am cooking dinner for 30 - 35 University of Alabama graphic design students this weekend. I need some suggestions. Here are the rules: 1. The dinner needs to be something I can make a day ahead 2. Budget is not large, but not small...so nothing too fancy 3. These are students, so they will like anything but really want to impress with attention to quality and detail
Recommended by Food52
Because bell peppers provide the underlying flavor of this menu, you might use them in a graphic-artsy food-pun way to garnish your entrees and your table: Use a variety of peppers in a variety of colors and use knives and canape cutters to illustrate the concepts of line, shape, color, form and texture.
You can do most everything ahead of time and then assemble on order. the dishing out is part of the fun. In Cairo koshary restaurants, the server is on a raised dais with massive stainless vats of the ingredients in front of him. With a slotted spoon and great flourish, he tosses the various ingredients into your bowl.
I generally serve it with a hot (hot!) sauce and a garlic vinegar on the tables for folks to doctor it themselves.
With koshary as a main, you could then do some nice platters of mezze, depending on your inclination. The koshary is so cheap that you could spend some bucks on nice platters of tabulah, babaganough, even wara ee'inab (stuffed grape leaves) where you could show off a bit.
Clifford Wright has a good Koshary recipe and Egyptian tomato sauce recipe:
Will there be vegetarians in the group? You may want to consider that, too. Lot's of food/lifestyle experimentation in the college years! Maybe a dish that includes legumes that will serve as an entree as well as a side for a meat course will cover both.
Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork Tostadas (Tinga) With Homemade Chorizo
Serves 4 to 6. Published March 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.
In all, the trimmed pork should weigh about 2½ pounds—1 1/2 pounds for the tinga and 1 pound for the chorizo mixture. Tinga is traditionally served on tostadas (crisp fried corn tortillas), but you can also use the meat in tacos and burritos or simply served over rice. Make sure to buy tortillas made only with corn, lime, and salt—preservatives will compromise quality. For tips on baking tostadas, see How to Bake Tostadas (related). Our winning brand of ready-made tostadas, Mission, is also an excellent choice. We prefer the complex flavor of chipotle powder, but two minced canned chipotle chiles can be used in its place. The pork can be prepared through step 1 and refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days. The tostadas can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container.
2 pounds boneless pork butt , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
2 medium onions , 1 quartered and 1 chopped fine
5 medium garlic cloves , 3 peeled and smashed and 2 minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder (see note)
2 bay leaves
1 pound boneless pork butt , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon hot paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder (see note)
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas (see note)
queso fresco or feta cheese
fresh cilantro leaves
1. FOR THE TINGA: Bring 1 1/2 pounds of trimmed pork, quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook until pork is tender, 75 to 90 minutes. Drain pork, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Discard onion, garlic, and thyme. Return pork to saucepan and, using potato masher, mash until shredded into rough ½-inch pieces (see Step-by-Step below); set aside.
2.TO MAKE CHORIZO: Place remaining 1 pound of pork pieces on large plate in single layer and freeze until firm but still pliable, about 15 minutes. Once firm, toss pork with 1 teaspoon table salt, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder, 3/4 teaspoon hot paprika, 3/4 teaspoon chipotle powder, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin in medium bowl. Place half of chorizo mixture in food processor and pulse until meat is finely chopped, 8 to 10 one-second pulses. Transfer to bowl and repeat with remaining chorizo mixture.
3. Heat olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add chorizo mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly crisp and no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer meat to paper-towel lined plate, leaving rendered fat in skillet. Add shredded pork (from step 1), chopped onion, and oregano; cook, stirring often, until pork is well browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, reserved pork cooking liquid, chorizo mixture, and bay leaves; simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste.
5. TO FRY TOSTADAS: Heat vegetable oil in 8-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat to 350 degrees. Using fork, poke center of each tortilla 3 or 4 times (to prevent puffing and allow for even cooking). Fry 1 at a time, holding metal potato masher in upright position on top of tortilla to keep it submerged (see photo below), until crisp and lightly browned, 45 to 60 seconds (no flipping is necessary). Drain on paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
6. TO SERVE: Spoon small amount of shredded pork onto center of each tostada and serve, passing garnishes separately.
I'm pretty sure something like tilapia would be inexpensive.
You can use either parchment paper or (less expensive) heavy tin foil to make the pouches. From a graphic design perspective, depends on the look you are going for.
Foil is good for being artistic and is much easier to crimp around the edge than the parchment paper.
The students would probably appreciate a well made little packet of fish and veggies.
It's very graphic design-y.