Friday, June 24, 2011

A Tropical Menu for Graduation Catering




Often in May and always in June, 
someone...somewhere, is moving on.
It might be to a bigger campus, it maybe to start a career or a family but whether it's considered a beginning or end a graduation is an  accomplishment and worth celebrating!

 






















Hands-down the favorite graduation theme is tropical. Perhaps because graduations are traditionally held before summer and leaving school triggers vacation thoughts of swaying palms and coconuts. When I plan a catered backyard graduation, I often suggest this theme for entertaining, it's comfortable for both the host and guests. The flavors have wide appeal and the casual barbecue buffet is perfect for backyard gatherings.
 
I have found that if I decorate the buffet with a few palm fronds some large sea shells, a bit of fish net and some bamboo edging it conveys a relaxed island theme. Because these items are neutral, they work with any color scheme. The soft warm color of khaki paired with crisp white, balances nicely against all the green in this backyard.




Not only do guests seem to relax at the first sight of tropical trappings, island flavors have a rich sweetness. At this party the backyard air is filled with wisps of deliciously exotic smoke from marinated skewers cooking on the barbecue. The fruit was cut while the meats cook and served as fresh as possible.
 
This menu works for any summer gathering it is backyard tested and graduation approved!

                                            Menu For A Backyard Graduation Gathering

hummus with pita toasts
bruchetta pomodoro
bleu cheese and almond spread
herb feta dip with vegetable sticks
jalapeno cheese ball with crackers
crab stuffed mushroom caps

teriyaki marinated skewers of shrimp, chicken and beef
island rice pilaf
sesame noodle salad
sliced fresh fruit
bite size desserts


Note: when planning a tropical theme menu, not everything on the appetizer list needs to fit the flavor profile, serve what you like. In addition, appetizers don't have to be served together on a buffet, they can be arranged on platters on several suitable surfaces around the party. Today's modern outdoor furniture and patio rooms, make it comfortable for smaller set ups to be placed about. 

For this gathering, the hostess chose a wide variety of intriguing dips and spreads that guests could nibble all night. She also chose crab stuffed mushrooms, a party classic, toasted and warm from the oven.

At this event, the host had a new exceptional grill area. It was the perfect place to cook the meal. The skewers of marinated chicken, were started first, followed by beef and finally the shrimp. Keep the skewers warm in a chaffing dish.  A fresh cool sesame noodle salad, and a seasoned rice pilaf are good with this menu. Fresh fruit is a must and the host chose small bite size desserts for easier service, rather then a graduation cake.