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NeedTheme Ideas for Concert in the Park

legalcat's picture

A group of culinary enthusiasts get together for our local Coronado Summer Concerts in the Park, every Sunday afternoon, and we create various dishes for a gourmet picnic spread.  In the past, we have followed  the Iron Chef America Challenges, using the secret ingredient each week as our theme.  However, we have gone through most of the ingredients featured on the show and I would like to suggest some new and creative themes for this summer.  We can always do Italian, French, etc., but I want to make it a little more interesting and challenging.  Any ideas out there?  Thank you!

mireillec's picture

(post #37459, reply #1 of 17)

Not an entire picnic menu, but this Pesto Cheese Blossom is always a hit: http://forums.delphiforums.com/celiac/messages?msg=14862.541

oliveoil's picture

(post #37459, reply #2 of 17)

I'm part of a group that attends Jazz in the Park, on Thursday evenings in August. For the last several years we have a salad theme and that has worked quite well. It's amazing that all the salads are different each time. We also feel like we are eating healthy too and most of the time...we are!

ICDOCEAN1's picture

(post #37459, reply #3 of 17)

Years ago we used to do a fancy box lunch trade and a fabulous brown bag night.  With all of the great containers available these days it would be even more fun since we have keep hot and keep cold storage items. 


There were just a few couples and it was really easy to trade/draw names and enjoy regional or international favorites packed by another cook.  Since there were just couples the meals were made for two. 


We were limited in those days, but the recipes and meal plans are just endless now. 


Another thing that we did for casual a get-together, was a big brown bag night.  One night we did a big brown bag southern night. We might be doing something like that for the free beach concerts this year. 




 


Gretchen's picture

(post #37459, reply #4 of 17)

Why not key it to what the music will be?

Gretchen

Gretchen
msm-s's picture

(post #37459, reply #5 of 17)

That's what I was thinking too. If we knew what kind of concerts, we might be able to throw out suggestions. It could be as obvious as the culture of the composer/s, or lifted from titles of the pieces. The more you have to stretch to work in a theme, the more fun it can be.

butterscotch's picture

(post #37459, reply #6 of 17)

Maybe some sort of historical theme?


Years ago, when I lived in Chicago, a good friend was a PhD. candidate in the English Department at the University of Chicago. Henry James was his particular interest.  My friend got to know Chef Louis Szathmary, a very erudite Hungarian, who had a lovely French restaurant and also collected the cookbooks of previous centuries.  Chef Louis consulted his 19th century English and French cookbooks and prepared a wonderful banquet for the English Department--food reminiscent of what Henry James's characters would have eaten circa 1890 or so.


Maybe you could do something similar, using the composer of a piece on the program at each concert?

legalcat's picture

(post #37459, reply #7 of 17)

Thank you for all your suggestions so far...


We really go all out for these Sunday concerts.  We each set up our own little Crate & Barrel picnic table and decorate it with flowers, candles, wine glasses, miniature serving plates and our dish of the evening.  One evening, I brought my little portable burner and made fresh crepes.  Another evening I warmed tortillas and made mini salmon tacos.  It's truly gourmet and we encourage creative plating and food styling for the photo session.  I've even created a Food Blog, soon to be revealed, to feature the recaps and photos from each week. 


When we did the Iron Chef Challenges, we even did rabbit, Blue Foot Chicken and Arctic Char.  We also did a Farmers Market theme and a Bobby Flay night. 


As far as the music, it's a mix of local bands, the Coronado Navy Band, jazz, rock, blues...


Thank you again, and keep the suggestions coming. 

msm-s's picture

(post #37459, reply #8 of 17)

Maybe you could research the projected programs a little further to get some details you can latch onto.

Gretchen's picture

(post #37459, reply #9 of 17)

Yeah, I STILL go for what the music will be.  Blues = Memphis (ribs and BBQ) or NOLA (take your choice), Jazz = NOLA again  Rock=sandwiches?


Our area steeplechases do the same "dinner" sets--silver candleabra, tablecloths.  But I still say, you don't eat the linen


Gretchen
Gretchen
Maedl's picture

(post #37459, reply #10 of 17)

I would take my cue from the music, too! You could base your theme on the musical style, as Gretchen suggested, on the composer's homeland, or, if you can find out what pieces will be played, you could match food to the individual selections. Food appears in so much music--I just heard an essay on food in pop music, which prompted me to start thinking of food in classical music. Just two examples: Bach's Coffee Cantata and the swan's song in Carmina Burana. Maybe you could get really lucky and get one of the drinking songs on the program--La Traviata and Die Fledermaus come to mind!

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Gretchen's picture

(post #37459, reply #11 of 17)

I would hope for something from the south of France!! That says picnic food par excellence to me!!  ;o)  Maybe l'Arlesienne Suite!!

Gretchen

Gretchen
Maedl's picture

(post #37459, reply #12 of 17)

Or Ariadne auf Naxos--that could mean a picnic based on Evelyn's recipes! And, just to bring Richard Strauss into it, an aperif of Sekt with elderflower or sweet woodruff syrup!

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
Gretchen's picture

(post #37459, reply #13 of 17)

Why don't we just plan the symphony's program AND the picnic!!  I already want to go!!   ;o0

Gretchen

Gretchen
msm-s's picture

(post #37459, reply #14 of 17)

I would be sorely tempted to turn it into "Ariadne auf Nachos" and do Mexican-

Maedl's picture

(post #37459, reply #15 of 17)

Oh, a gleeful groan to that!

Margie
Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay:
Where Food and Culture Intersect
www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com

Margie Between the Alps and the Chesapeake Bay: Where Food and Culture Intersect www.alpsandbay.blogspot.com
legalcat's picture

(post #37459, reply #16 of 17)

Thank you for all of your ideas.  I wanted to give you an update after three, successful, culinary challenges.  For the first concert, the challenge was "Fill Me Up Until I'm Stuffed" - everything had to be rolled or stuffed.  The second was Challenge Cherries, since the beautiful cherries are in season.  This past Sunday, we had Spanish Tapas.  Next week is "Nuts & Balls" - everything must contain nuts and/or be shaped in balls.  Yes, two of the men (mine included) who had consumed a few too many sangrias came up with that one!  You can see the concert/food photos, as well as the recaps and photos from the 2008 Concert Season Iron Chef Concert in the Park Challenges, on my new blog, "There's a Newf in My Soup!"


Denise


http://www.newfinmysoup.blogspot.com/

dorcast's picture

(post #37459, reply #17 of 17)

Your blog is great.
It seems like you have a fun group of friends, and I think I'm in love with your dog!

Doreen