Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Appetizers: I'm putting out, but how much?

Appetizers don't need to be complicated. The cheese board I prepared has drunken goat cheese, Boursin cheese, gluten-free crackers, sliced honey crisp apples with a little bit of rosemary for just a pop of color. 

I normally decide how many appetizers I will be serving based on the number of guests I am having. One of the consequences of growing up in a large family is that I have a disproportionate understanding of how much food is actually needed for a group of adults who are not seven ravenous brothers. For example, I had a group of friends over one night for dinner and I was making my grandmother's raviolis.. unsupervised. 

I was a little nervous about how they would come out so I decided to make a back up dinner incase they didn't hold together, seems practical no? Two full sheets of lasagna, and a successful entrĂ© into the ravioli world later, my friend Jake was walking out with a full sheet of lasagna to take home. 

This made me establish some portion rules for myself. 

Appetizers: estimate that the longer they're waiting, the more they'll eat but start with about 5-7 bites per guest, per hour for individual hors d'oeuvres. 
Again, you need to be flexible based on what you're serving, so if you're serving chips and dip and you're expecting 6-7 people it's worth it to buy the second bag of chips because they're easier to snack on.  For a group of ten people I usually have three appetizer options. 

Dinner: if it's just the boys coming over for our sibling dinners [#FeedingtheFrat] then I estimate one and a half pieces of protein per person. You can get more technical and say with a more general guest list you should have 6-8 oz of protein per guest, but I just usually eyeball it. 
For the accompanying side dishes, i.e. vegetables, grains, and starches it depends on who you're eating with. Our family tends to try to avoid starchy carbs, so I try to serve more vegetables, usually about a "palm's worth" of cooked veggies per person. 

Desserts: Don't go crazy. While everyone loves dessert, unless there is something that you know is going to be fought after and hoarded (Grandma's zeppoles or my Apple Cake) you typically won't need a back up unless it is a celebration/holiday of some kind.

Alcohol/Beverages: whatever drink you're serving, a good guideline for a beverage estimate is two drinks, per guest, per hour. 

Even with these guidelines, you know your guests best. 
Always round-up your food estimates, if you're not sure. It's better to have leftovers for lunch than to not have enough food but if at anytime you feel like you're running the risk of not having enough- order a pizza. 

Pizza solves everything. 

Some of my favorite go-to Appetizer recipes: