🔕 🔔
Loading…

My Basket ()

All questions

Resources for cooking ahead of time

Does anyone have any websites/books/resources for learning to cook ahead of time when entertaining? For example, i love making a risotto when we entertain but it's hard making it a a minute cause what if my guests are late? Even if they're not i spend the first 45 minutes of our dinner cooking instead of entertaining them... I'd like to learn how to parcook a risotto and then finish it when my guests are ready. Ditto for things like a roast...how do restaurants hold a roast for 6 hours of service? warming tray or in the fridge? Would love anyone's input on this topic. thanks!

asked by CanadaDan 5 months ago
20 answers 627 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

I love Risotto but it is too much work when entertaining. At the risk of being banished from the hotline, I have made a microwave version, that's really good , there are also rice cooker versions I haven't tried yet. 0% effort and if you are using it for a side for meat well worth trying. As for the meat, you don't need to make it 6 hours ahead do you? Once it goes in the oven you are free to do other things You can time it to come out maybe 1/2 hour ahead and let it rest on a cutting board before carving. If you think about it meat never stays hot for long, it's the gravy or au jus and the sides that can be nice an hot when you serve. check our Sarah Jampel's article here for more tips: https://food52.com/blog... Any other specific questions just reply back

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 5 months ago

PHIL, the day you're banished from the hotline is the day that I say "Good-bye" to Food52 and never come back. Seriously. Keep your good ideas, even ones that are not universally embraced, or that may otherwise be rejected for whatever reason, coming. ;o)
P.S. "Hostile work environment?" Priceless!

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 5 months ago

Microwave !!! My mother used to make it in the pressure pan and my uncle (her brother ) would make fun of her every time "risotto" was mentioned !

730e314f caf5 438f 9a9a 998057ffb9ff  20151109 150352
Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 5 months ago

Just on the risotto topic, it really is best served the minute it's ready, but I've also heard a pressure cooker does a wonderful job with risotto. I haven't tried it, but I've heard that from many different sources. I may have heard the same about slow cooker risotto.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

Unless you have a sous chef handy maybe try Susan's or my suggestion for the Risotto. ( my wife is my sous chef but it's a hostile work environment)

88afa98e fd9c 4e61 af72 03658638b6cb  eight ball 600px
cv
added 5 months ago

For sure, risotto is not an optimal dish to serve for larger groups because it demands a lot of attention. Ultimately, you may wish to find a different dish for larger groups. Restaurants often do parcook risotto and finish on-demand for the individual guest or small groups.

For something like a roast in a restaurant, chances are they will cook multiple roasts and stagger the times so they finish over the course of some time. If the restaurant needs a total of six roasts for a six-hour service, they wouldn't have them all cooked for the opening (1st hour). Maybe they'd cook two staggered two hours apart, so you have two roasts covering hours 1-2, two more for hours 3-4, and the final pair covering hours 5-6.

In the same way, it's like grilling at a three-hour tailgate. If you're going to have 60 tailgaters, you wouldn't cook 30 burgers and 30 hot dogs right at the opening, you'd cook a few of each over time.

A professional cookbook geared toward restaurateurs and caterers might cover some of these topics. Luckily, I picked up a lot of tips as a kid when I helped my mom in the kitchen in preparation for dinner parties (Thanksgiving, etc.).

You need to be judicious in your menu selections about what dishes you choose to make relative to the effort making them and how much time you wish to spend with your guests. That cooking/hosting balance is different for every party host; some people would have the whole thing catered and only play host. Others would rather spend most of the time in the kitchen and have someone else be the primary host.

That's really your call, no one here can tell you what to do; they're your parties, not ours.

Good luck.

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 5 months ago

Serendipity, just a few months ago I published on my Blog 2 articles about Risotto and 4 recipes to make when entertaining. The post was sponsored by the oldest Italian rice producer Riso Gallo (1856), though you will not find it in USA.
The first article was on How to make the perfect risotto:
http://yourguardianchef...
The second: 4 Italian Rice Recipes for Entertaining (w/vegetarian and gluten free options) :

As Risotto is not the ideal dish to prepare when entertaining, I propose 4 creative ways to serve it at dinner parties.
a. Riso Pilaf as a side dish
b. Rice Balls as an appetizer
c. Arancini with vegetarian and gluten free options
d. Rice Timbale naturally gluten free with 2 options vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
I did propose the article to FOOD52, but haven't heard from them. So if you are interested you can find it on my Blog.
http://yourguardianchef...

56572eae 523e 48d2 868f 34d2f4fd5ca0  4 gluten free vegeterian with rice

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

what's up with the multi colored riceballs on the upper right? what is on them?

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 5 months ago

As the rice is gluten free, I was looking at ways to make arancini gluten free. So I tried 3 different coating (the 4th is the classic one with breadcrumbs and there is gluten in there):
1. Grated almonds
2. Sesame seeds (the black variety)
3. Rice cakes
I must say, the results were excellent

B3038408 42c1 4c18 b002 8441bee13ed3  new years kitchen hlc only
AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 5 months ago

Your Guardian Chef, you're amazing. ;o)

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 5 months ago

Thank you AntoniaJames, Riso Gallo was delighted with the article and it is very popular with Celiacs.

A43dee65 01b1 40a6 994d 068c78eb3eee  9f7dd561 a480 4e1b 8c8f d5da7ab5167c
dinner at ten

dinner at ten is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

For risotto, it is fine to parcook it and finish the last ~15 minutes of cooking right before eating. This is what restaurants do in order to serve risotto, I'm pretty sure. My usual method for risotto is to do the rice-sautéing step, add a small volume of wine and simmer until adsorbed, then add about 1/2 the total volume of broth and simmer without stirring until adsorbed. At this point, you can hold the risotto indefinitely. When you're ready to cook it again, start adding the broth in smaller increments and stirring frequently until it's done.
I also really like making savory soufflés for guests. You can prepare the base in advance; when your guests arrive all you have to do is whip the egg whites (could probably whip these a little in advance also), fold together, and put it in the oven. This gives you a nice amount of time (30-40 min I think) to relax, pour some drinks, etc with your guests before the meal.
Also, in the summer, foods meant to be served at room temp of course work really well. This is very natural with meze-style meals. Ottolenghi's cookbooks of recent fame have lots of ideas for this, but there are lots of other good English language resources such as Paula Wolfert's cookbooks, and Spice by Ana Sortun (chef of the wonderful Oleana restaurant in Cambridge MA).

88afa98e fd9c 4e61 af72 03658638b6cb  eight ball 600px
cv
added 5 months ago

What restaurants do to parcook risotto is to take it about 80-90% of the way, then dump onto a parchment-lined sheet pan as a thin layer, quickly bring this to a walk-in refrigerator so it will cool immediately and halt further cooking. When it is cold, it can be portioned for individual servings. So when the servers fire a risotto ticket, the cooks grab however many portions they need. Finishing risotto does not scale well, works best for individuals or small groups. Because of the increased volume, it takes longer to reheat/finish risotto for 8-12 people rather than two. Often in restaurant, you might put 3-4 saucepans on the stove and do 3-4 portions in each pan, rather than try to use a larger pan for all the portions.

Even if you parcook risotto, it's still labor intensive. The last ten minutes before serving parcooked risotto are still as busy. Plus, you may now have four pans to clean instead of one and you've taken most/all of your stove's burners out of commission for those ten minutes.

Risotto's the one of the last starches I'd make for a dinner party. Rice pilaf on the other hand would be a prime alternative. It scales well, isn't as labor intensive and survives quite well if it needs to hold at a warm place due to timing issues.

50e6ebd3 b4c9 4d51 bd5e 1163afa4ba06  2013wreath
BerryBaby

BerryBaby is trusted source on General Cooking

added 5 months ago

I have made Ina's oven risotto recipe which, surprisingly, turns out great. No stirring or standing over it. Not sure how long you can keep in the oven without it drying out. It was wonderful but made it for us, no pressure as to when to serve it.

Cfe06c3a 31ba 4cd7 a0b0 2d1e7eb98d8e  18930218514 6fcf35ff43 b
Lindsay-Jean Hard

Lindsay-Jean is a Contributing Writer & Editor at Food52.

added 5 months ago

As for the broader question, you might want to check out our entertaining topic page (https://food52.com/topics...) for tips and recipes.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

YGC- you tell the guests the dish is called risotto ala micro onde, they'll never know

05ecb292 9c62 4e50 b630 a898cae237ad  laura avatar s size
added 5 months ago

My mom will be glad to hear !

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
PHIL

PHIL is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

Thanks Antonia.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
Nancy

Nancy is a trusted home cook.

added 5 months ago

Not specific to your risotto or roast examples, but Ina Garten has a cookbook out relatively recently (2014) called "Make it ahead: A Barefood Contessa cookbook"
https://www.amazon.com...
I've only browsed it, but she's knowledgeable and gives variations. If you like her recipes and/or her style, have a look and see if it helps.

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 5 months ago

thanks for the suggestions, everyone. i have some serious life contemplating to do...