I made my own polenta serving board. A 5' piece of pine 1/2" thick. I simply cut off the corners, on an angle, then, drilled a 1 1/2" hole in the center at end end. To make it look like a cutting board. Then, I used my hand sander, until smooth, and the edges lightly rounded. Finished with mineral oil, which is natural; and will finish the board. It turned out really good. I think $20, and 1 hr. Well worth it.
Now for the party ... It is at my friends house, he has a HUGE outside lanai and table, so perfect for all of us. Seven (7) of us cooking, all different dishes. I am cooking 3 dishes. One friend is setting up, another manning the drinks, and some of us are cooking.
We are going paper, too many people, and by the pool. Dark red plates, silverware too. I got this amazing material at the fabric store 'Italian' theme, for $5. Bargain!; Clear plastic glasses for the wine and cocktails to start. Everything is simple and easy. My friend (he does interior design) is making my floral arrangements too. Red and white daisies with some greens in mason jars. Crafts of wine. All very simple and rustic. My friend is hanging white lights too; and we have a bunch of small voltive candles for the table. About 50 of them.
Very casual, outdoor dining. NO plates, NO dishes. Just the polenta board to wash off ... and a few serving utensils. Casual Elegance. And for 10 of us who planned this, less than 20/each for the entire party, to serve 20 people. Now there were a couple bottles of wine donated and the lemoncello; but still. A great deal; and, lots of fun.
Lemoncello cocktails with soda, as spritzers with fresh herbs
Spicy Nuts (my friends recipe he makes them)
Marinated cheese served with crackers (new recipe to be posted)
http://www.recipezazz.com/recipe/lemon- ... hetta-2195 w/toasted baguettes, will grill the bread there
At one end, fruit kabobs that were tossed with a basil mint dressing
At the other end, lettuce salad cups. Iceberg leaves, stuffed with a mix of greens, cucumber, egg, scallions, red onion, capers, artichokes and a simple Italian vinaigrette dressing (to be posted)
- Spicy beef, slow simmered in the crock with chicken stock and beer and a mix of peppers, almost like pulled pork, but very spicy
- Shrimp scampi (with wine lemon, parsley, butter, scallions, etc)
- Grilled Italian chicken with a white wine sauce)
- Sauteed mix of wild mushrooms in a rich beef and herb broth (ragu); finished with a little cream
- Slow roasted peppers, onions, and squash
- Sauteed tomatoes w/olives, onions, herbs, and Feta
(sorry, none of these are posted)
Grilled pineapple with a homemade rum raisin ice cream (we took a cheap vanilla ice cream, added good rum, vanilla, 2 different raisins, and nuts. Re-froze, and presto ... Rum Raisin ice cream)
http://www.recipezazz.com/recipe/citrus ... cake-10128
Now, you pour the polenta down the center of the board. The mineral oil has already soaked in. NO taste, NOTHING bad for the food. Pile up your fruit skewers at one end, and the salad cups at the other.
In the center of that polenta. Pour on your dishes. NOW, we had 3 main dishes and 3 sides dishes; so the portions we made were for a serving of 8 for each. We figured everyone may take a bit of each. We also got take home boxes so everyone could take home the extras.
Just pour the dish over the polenta, make a little well in the polenta so it doesn't run over the edge.
Everyone can just dig in and take whatever.
And yes, it was inexpensive, delicious food, just good times.