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Old 06-09-2011, 05:29 AM   #1
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Cooking "summer/picnic" food for 45 Chinese students.

It is not only the end of the year but also the last time I will be teaching in this school. I will be changing schools this summer. For both of these reasons, as well as to introduce my students to some western foods I would like to prepare a meal for them. My first thoughts of what to serve:

barbeque chicken thighs
corn on the cob
spaghetti - though I wish I had a good recipe for mac and cheese casserole (with corn) to substitute for it *
cornbread
fruit salad
a large jello parfait (not individuals, although individuals would be impressive)
potato salad
sloppy joes
deviled eggs *
apple pie and/or homemade ice cream - i have a homemade ice cream maker.

The items with a * are those that I am not sure I can do en masse for 45 people. I will have to do this all again for 30 people the next night!

I would love to do ribs but they are a bit expensive. The ribs alone would cost almost as much as the other parts of the meal here! I am considering tuna fish on crackers as a finger food.

I would appreciate any suggestions you have for what I have listed, along with ways to make the food more presentable...and any simple kinds of finger foods you might know about. It is probably best to stay away from cheese, though one dish might be ok - my students like pizza but most other cheese tastes are pretty new to them. It is likely that it will be served buffet style...also 80% of my students are female, all about 20 yrs old.

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Old 06-09-2011, 06:00 AM   #2
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If the corn on the cob were freshly picked (within the last 3 days), never refrigerated, and not over-cooked (just brought to a boil and then left to steep in the hot water); the corn, some shrimp or lobster salad, and a couple of NYC Chinese style spare ribs would be a treat for me. Abalone?
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:27 AM   #3
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It would help to know...where are you!

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Old 06-09-2011, 07:40 AM   #4
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Not a chicken fan so I'd scratch that and make smoked pulled pork sammies with slaw and bbq baked beans, also on the smoker. I would think that would be cheaper, too. Just an idea.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:57 AM   #5
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I think what you have sounds great. If you're doing buffet style and cheese is new to them, you might just serve mild sliced colby and cheddar. That way they could sample small pieces of cheese and if they like it, get more, and if they don't, it was just a small piece. That would also keep the cost lower because it's in small slices. A green salad might also go well with what you've got or even just a veggie tray with like, cucumber slices, celery sticks, carrot sticks, etc. You could provide honey and/or jam to go on the cornbread.

To make things more presentable you could use simple garnishes. For example, you're already making a fruit salad so maybe you could take a couple pieces of fruit cut in a pretty shape and place them in a decorative manner on top of the parfait. You could also garnish the top of the potato salad with celery leaves fanned out to create a floral like shape. If you make the deviled eggs they look good with a little chopped or dried parsley sprinkled over top. If you use fresh parsley then you could also place a few sprigs around the serving tray.

Are you looking for specific recipes for these items or just general ideas?
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Old 06-09-2011, 09:19 AM   #6
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Are hot dogs availble to you? If so, wrap them in raw bread dough, let the dough rise, and bake them up as pigs-in-the-blanket.

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Old 06-09-2011, 09:48 AM   #7
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I would suggest burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob, a green salad, along with your fruit salad, cornbread, deviled eggs and desserts. It is simple, and classically American.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:37 PM   #8
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Thanks! I am in Shanghai, China. I am looking for any suggestions - I have done Thanksgiving for 20 people before, but never have cooked for 45. I am also open to creative little appetizers....or anyone who wants to fly to Shanghai next Tuesday to help me prepare all of this food :) A good moist cornbread recipe would be helpful...i can't seem to find the one I usually use.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:03 PM   #9
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Here is my favorite cornbread recipe. I think it's pretty standard but it tastes good.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 tblsp honey
1/3 cup sugar (or preferred sweetener)

Mix dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and mix gently until batter is smooth. Pour into greased cake pan (round or square). I think we used a 10 inch but don't remember for sure. Bake at 400F until golden on top. You should be able to stick a butter knife into it and have it come out clean.
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Old 06-09-2011, 10:45 PM   #10
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Looks good, pengyou. Your students will appreciate the farewell American-style buffet! I'd consider skewering and kabobbing the bbq chicken in the oven. It'd include a few more vegetables to your menu. It'd better accommodate the majority of your students who have manicured nails. As for even more finger friendly food, I don't know, hard to beat Chinese dim sum... maybe a stuffed mushroom.

I assume you can explain the name "sloppy joe"...
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