What to do when an impromptu gathering happens?
Fear not, just do a run-through of your fridge and pantry. Believe me, you will find food, more food than you think you have. Pull out a couple of cutting boards and few pretty dishes and create a charcuterie board, or two. Keep in mind that some guests cannot eat beef, while others cannot eat pork., somebody might be a vegetarian, and a couple of people could be gluten intolerant.
There are two things that bring out the best in others; food, and an honest environment.
This charcuterie was made up of whatever I could find in the pantry, and the fridge.
I had a package of ground pork and beef mix from Tenderlands meat. There was a jar of home-made pasta sauce. There’s always a jar of good natural pickles from Poland. Cheeses are always in my fridge, and of course there’re always stacks of vegetables.
Coils of salami from the Polish deli and homemade meatballs. Pickles, three different cheeses, and various vegetables, and a bowl of creamy dip.
While everyone enjoyed the nibbles I popped a Vegetable lasagna, and a Parchment Salmon in the oven. Those I served, as the second course, with a basket of bread, a salad, rice, and a dish of pan seared vegetables.
A good host must recognize when his/her guests have moved from a pleasant buzz. This is the time to feed everyone a solid meal, before they get to the seriously-tipsy stage.
Encourage everyone to fill their plates and sit down to eat, drink and enjoy the gathering. The bit of tidying up after will put everyone back into a sense of community spirit.
After the main meal everyone should go back to chatting, sipping, and fighting over who should be the DJ.
For the dessert I popped some jars of custards to bake in the oven, and sautéed some frozen mixed-berries from last week’s shopping.
I served it with a small scoop each of rosewater ice, and saffron ice cream. Pop a big pot of espresso on, and voila. Don’t forget to call the cabs to get everyone home safely.
Tips: Put all pork type meat on one board. Keep all cheeses in one dish. Separate vegetables into their own dishes. Do the same with pickles and olives. keep the food as naturally gluten-free as possible and add baskets of fresh bread for regular diets – f you’re going to use crackers with various toppings then I suggest gluten-free crackers as the base.
Until next time keep up with my local community and food travels on twitter @glutenfreesam and for even more stories check out www.theprovince.com