(BPT) - If you're a home chef, you know how fun and fulfilling it is to host friends and family. However, entertaining a large group can also be challenging and a bit stressful.
To help you elevate your entertaining prowess, Nick Ritchie - Signature Kitchen Suite's executive chef - has offered the following delicious recipe and four tips every home chef should know.
1. Prepare multipurpose batches of food
Chef Ritchie suggests cooking multipurpose batches of food like pesto, hummus ratatouille, caponata and baba ganoush, which pair well with grilled chicken, fish and meat. You can prepare and store a sizable batch of recipes up to a week ahead.
Check out this addicting parmesan dip recipe courtesy of Chef Ritchie that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. You can serve it as a topping for fresh bread, crostini or bruschetta, toss it with pasta, spoon it over fresh sliced tomatoes, add to a salad, dollop it on steak or chicken breast, and use it as a pizza base. The possibilities are endless!
Chef Nick's Parmesan Dip
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: 2.5 cups
- 8 ounces Parmesan cheese, broken into 1-inch chunks
- 8 ounces Asiago cheese, broken into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
- 1 tablespoon pepper flakes
- 1-1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1. Place the cheese chunks in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 10 seconds to break the cheese into small granules. (Use a rubber spatula to scrape down and recombine between every couple of pulses.)
2. Add the remaining ingredients except olive oil and pulse briefly.
3. Using a spatula, remove all to a mixing bowl. Fold the olive oil into the blended ingredients and mix well by hand.
4. Transfer the dip to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before serving.
2. Sous vide to save time
Don't let the fancy name fool you. The sous vide cooking method, which has been used by world-renowned chefs for years, is just as easy for home cooks. "Sous vide" (pronounced "sue-veed") is French for "under vacuum," and it's an innovative cooking technique known for achieving the perfect temperature every time. Food is vacuum sealed, then submerged in water and slow-cooked at a constant precise temperature until it is perfectly cooked.
Sous vide has become the go-to method in the world's best restaurants for years and for good reason. It brings food to the precise temperature chefs look for and delivers perfect doneness, edge-to-edge, every time with little effort.
Let's say you've prepared a bone-in ribeye using the sous vide method. As you cut into your steak, you'll notice something right away. The doneness you were hoping for goes all the way through your steak, without that gray-to-pink gradient and thin band of desired doneness that you get when simply grilling steaks.
Even better, you can use sous vide to do a "reverse sear." Sous vide will ensure your steak is cooked to the desired temperature. Then, you can put it on the hot grill for that tasty, smoky char only outdoor cooking can give you.
Baby back ribs are another popular staple that can be prepared using the sous vide method. With the perfect fall-off-the-bone doneness from the sous vide, a nice smokey finish from the grill and a brush of barbecue sauce, you'll have all-day ribs without the all-day work.
You can even make batches of sous vide cocktails and mocktails for a large group, so you don't spend your whole event mixing drinks. Chef Ritchie recommends popular libations like limoncello, an old fashioned and cherry gin.
3. Embrace technology
Technology is your friend here, so use it! Cooking and kitchen appliances can help you save time, elevate your cooking and simplify preparing and storing dishes for entertaining and everyday cooking. To make recipes shine, Ritchie advises at-home chefs to upgrade the tools and equipment - especially appliances and other must-haves they use every day. He recommends today's ultra-versatile appliances, like those from Signature Kitchen Suite, which feature multiple modalities - from steam and gas to induction and even industry-first sous vide built right into the cooktop - to deliver elevated creations and make your cooking experience easier and more successful, day after day.
Learn more about these and other options to enhance your home cooking at SignatureKitchenSuite.com.
4. Take it easy on yourself
Keep it simple. Serve your dishes buffet or family style on platters for an easier setup and cleanup.
If you plan to dine outdoors, pick up rustic or picnic-style butcher paper as a disposable tablecloth. Opt for eco-friendly, compostable plates and utensils that are attractive so you can skip washing dishes after your guests have gone home.
Impress your guests and enjoy your dinner party or get-together that those in attendance won't soon forget. Using these four tips, you'll be ready to host any event this season and beyond.