Choosing The Right Foods For Your Special Event



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Choosing The Right Foods For Your Special Event

Choosing the right menu for a special event can be just as important as choosing a location. Food can communicate a theme, convey a feeling or set the mood of an entire night. If you are planning a high-class extravaganza, hot dogs and beer might not be appropriate. However, they might be the perfect choice for a birthday party at the lake. Taking great care in creating a menu shows your guests how much you appreciate them, and a great meal can help make a special day even more memorable.

If you are planning a birthday party for your child, an interactive meal can be a fun activity for your guests. Rather than slaving away in the kitchen all day or spending countless dollars ordering pizzas, you can save time and money by letting the guests make their own special creations. One fun idea is to prepare a multitude of toppings and let the children make their own bagel or English muffin pizzas. They will have a blast piling on strange combinations of toppings, and they will enjoy feeling like grown-ups in the kitchen.

For a more formal occasion like a holiday party, finger foods can be great for mingling guests, and they can be great topics of conversation. The obligatory finger sandwich can be spiced up by adding your own special pesto or cheese spread to an already tried and true recipe. Experiment with different ingredients in the weeks prior to the party, and test them out on your family. You will know when you get the reaction you are looking for, and you might end up spending much of the party writing down your recipe for your guests.

Planning a menu for a wedding can be quite stressful, especially when you are not sure exactly how many guests will be attending. The rule of thumb is that too much is better than not enough, even if it means having a lot of food left over at the end of the night. You can choose to have a buffet-style dinner, or you can have a set menu for your guests. It is important to consider your guests with unique dietary needs. You should have vegetarian and low-sodium choices to your main courses, and you should have a heart-healthy menu for those who must avoid foods with high fat contents.

Before attempting a large-scale meal, you should make all of the dishes several times to perfect your recipes. Your goal is to have guests asking for more even after it all runs out. Test your creations on a variety of people and make adjustments according to their suggestions. When cooking food from your own recipes, it is important to remember the details of what you did every time you make it. That way you will know what went wrong when something turns out horrible, and more importantly what went right when you receive raving reviews.

Planning portions is the most important part of catering your own party. Though most recipes tell you how many people they will feed, it is best to err on the side of caution. If a recipe feeds eight, you might want to count it as six or seven, depending on how many guests you expect. Plan that half of your guests will want to go back for seconds. If you know that one dish will be a favorite, be sure to make extra. Though the green beans may be the healthier option, you can usually bet that the cheesecake will go a lot quicker. Keep in mind that the greater the assortment, the more people you will please, so even if you are a steamed vegetable lover, you should probably prepare some beefy options for your less than health conscious guests.

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4 of the Most Typical Cooking Techniques



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4 Of The Most Typical Cooking Techniques

If you are preparing any kind of meals from a recipe, it's important that you understand the variety of ways of cooking. There are a number of terms for different ways of cooking, as follows.

Grilled

If a recipe calls for something to be grilled, it generally means it should be cooked over an open flame or heat. Grilling can be done by charcoal or gas - on a barbeque for example - or it can be done using a grill of some sort on the burners of your stove.

Broiled

Broiling indicates cooking by exposing directly to a heat source such as a flame or element. Most ovens have a "broil" setting, which heats an element at the top of the stove rather than the one at the bottom, which is used for baking.

When broiling items in the oven, they should normally be placed on the top rack to give them the proper heat exposure.

Frying vs Deep Frying

Both frying and deep-frying cook foods with a similar process, but the method is a little different in each case. Frying can be done over any heat source, such as a stove element or an open flame. Oil or butter is heated and the food is cooked by its heat.

Deep frying, on the other hand, also involves oil but in this case the food is completely submerged in the oil. Deep frying is used for foods such as french fries, breaded chicken and doughnuts. It can be dangerous, however, because you're dealing with boiling oil so proper equipment and safety precautions must be used.

Sauteing

Sauteing involved cooking food quickly in a small amount of fat. It is similar in process to frying, but because of the smaller amount of fat and faster cooking times, it brings out stronger flavors than frying will.

Knowing what is involved with the various terms will make it easier to plan when following a recipe. You'll know what equipment and ingredients you'll need that are distinctive to each method.

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3 Great Coconut Shrimp Recipes + Bonus Video!


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3 Great Coconut Shrimp Recipes

If you love coconut shrimp, here are three different, but very good coconut shrimp recipes to try:

Coconut Beer Batter Fried Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa

2 eggs
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beer
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
coconut oil
3 cups grated coconut

Seasoning mix:

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1-1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

Thoroughly combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix 1-1/4 cups of the flour, 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix, baking powder, eggs, and beer together in a bowl, breaking up all lumps until it is smooth.

Combine the remaining flour with 1-1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix and set aside. Place the coconut in a separate bowl.

Sprinkle both sides of the shrimps with the remaining seasoning mix. Then hold each shrimp by the tail, dredge in the flour mixture, shake off excess, dip in batter and allow excess to drip off. Coat each shrimp with the coconut and place on a baking sheet.

Heat deep fryer to 350°F. Drop each shrimp into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, approximately 1/2 to 1 minute on each side. Do not crowd the fryer. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.

Lay shrimp on large lettuce leaves and serve with Pineapple Salsa dip. Garnish with lemon, orange, or lime wedges.


Pineapple Salsa

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
1/3 cup chopped red onion, 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pineapple preserves (or apricot-pineapple preserves)
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded fresh jalapeno chili
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine ingredients and gently toss.


Coconut Shrimp Kabobs with Island Coconut Salsa

1 lb. shell-on shrimp, uncooked
1/3 cup coconut milk, canned and sweetened
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon red chili peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
12 to 18 fresh pineapple chunks

Island Coconut Salsa

1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil or macadamia nut oil

Peel and devein shrimp retaining tails; set aside. Combine coconut milk, lime juice, garlic, red peppers, cumin, coriander and pepper; pour over shrimp. Marinate no more than 1 hour. Thread shrimp and pineapple chunks on skewers. Broil or grill, 3 minutes per side, or until shrimp are done. Arrange coconut shrimp on large lettuce leaves. Serve with Island Coconut Salsa on the side.


Here's a quick 10 Minute Bonus Video Containing a Caribbean Coconut Shrimp Recipe - yummy! 



Caribbean Shrimp Run Down

1 lb shell-on shrimp, uncooked
3 tablespoons lime or lemon juice
3 cups coconut milk
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
Finely chopped hot pepper to taste
1 lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 t. fresh chopped thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Peel and de-vein shrimp retaining tails. Pour the lime juice over the shrimp and set aside. Cook the coconut milk in a heavy frying pan until it is oily. Add the onion, garlic and cook until the onion is tender. Add the hot pepper, tomatoes, salt and pepper, thyme and vinegar. Stir and cook very gently for 10 minutes.

Drain the shrimp, add the other ingredients and cook until the shrimp is tender, about 10 minutes. Serve hot over rice. Preparation time: 30 minutes.


We hope you enjoy!

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