Testing Food for Guests and Planning Ahead

We have wedding guests arriving in just a few weeks...two weeks' worth of guests! And all of these people (family and close friends) have stayed with us multiple times before. So the challenge in planning what to feed them for 14 days is in figuring out what I can serve that I haven't served them before.

One of my many lists currently in the works is a list of food prep that can be done ahead of time, so as to free up more time to spend with our loved ones while they're here. Here's the list, which also happens to be pretty handy if YOU are prepping for summer visitors:

- mini quiches for the freezer (a whole blog posting coming on these at some point...you're going to LOVE them!)

- granola

- sweet breads and/or muffins for the freezer

- lemon aoli for sandwiches

- homemade dressings (or I may just buy them and be done with it)

- a jar of pickled onions

- refrigerator pickles

- marinate/grill/freeze chicken for sandwiches

- balls of cookie dough for the freezer (making freshly baked cookies a delicious option)

- marinate and freeze chicken breasts for dinner

- make and freeze soft chicken taco meat

- make ice cream AND sorbetto terrines (another blog posting on this coming up)

Maybe I'm crazy, but I'm saving ALL of that to do next week. I hope I'm not crazy. I think it's possible, if I'm strategic and don't squander time.

I've also been experimenting with a few foods, including the mini quiches and the terrines. But also, I've tried out:

- a Mediterranean salad for lunches (that was a hit with the family)

- an Italian chopped salad (not such a hit, so will be crossing that one off the list)

- British cordials (another blog posting coming on this deliciousness!)

- Italian pressed sandwich (super easy, recipe below)

Italian Pressed Sandwich

1 loaf cibatta bread, sliced lengthwise

pesto (I had store-bought, sundried tomato pesto on hand, but I'd recommend just a basic basil variety)

olive oil

sandwich pepperoni

hard salami, sliced thinly

slices of mozarrella cheese

1 tomato

spinach leaves

roasted red bell peppers

red onion slices

black pepper

Spread the bottom half of the cibatta loaf with the pesto. Layer all the ingredients on the sandwich. 

Drizzle the top half of the cibatta with olive oil and sandwich together.

Wrap the sandwich very tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight with a heavy weight on it to press it. (I used a cast iron skillet with two 6-lb. hand weights in it.)

Then remove the plastic wrap and carefully slice off all the edges of the sandwich. Cut into serving-sized pieces and serve to hungry guests!


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