Gifty Boxed Meals
Just think how nice it would be to have the meals made and given to friends, neatly boxed with everything from accoutrements to condiments included. I would stack them in an old wheeled barrow, or line them up on the long rail of my screened porch.
Any bakery should sell you a couple of dozen large cake boxes. If you need a lot of boxes, here is my favorite site for every sort of paper food packaging: webstaurantstore.com
Replace paper and plastic with sustainably harvested bamboo ware, including plates, bowls, knives, forks and spoons. It is not only “greener” but far better looking than paper and plastic.
Buy inexpensive cotton dishtowels instead of paper napkins. They are much better looking and have an extended utility beyond the backyard bash.
Boxed Menu Ideas
Lots of good food fits inside the box. Cold fried or grilled chicken, marinated flank steak salad are a couple of main courses that come to mind. Hot/Cold cups with lids (webstaurantstore.com) can be filled with salads, slaws or other sides and tucked in the box. Cupcakes, tartlets and cookies would all work for desserts. To get you started, here is my current favorite in realm of wraps. This is a wonderful early summer sandwich which everyone loves.
TARRAGON CHICKEN WRAPS WITH WILTED WATERCRESS AND CHUTNEY (or Vidalia jam)
Makes 8 cone shaped wraps filled with chicken and cress
- 1 small roasted chicken (or three cooked chicken breasts)
- 1 cup of mild chutney or Vidalia jam
- ¼ cup tarragon leaves
- 8 small whole wheat sandwich wraps
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- Freshly ground white pepper
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- Skin and bone the chicken and cut the meat in long slivers or shreds. Set aside.
- Make the simple vinaigrette by placing the vinegar, salt, pepper and coarsely chopped fresh tarragon in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until the salt is dissolved, then slowly add the olive oil while whisking. Taste to correct the seasonings. Add the watercress to the vinaigrette and toss. The acid in the vinaigrette will “wilt” the cress immediately.
- Lay out each of the 8 whole-wheat sandwich wraps on a piece of parchment or deli paper. Place 1/5 of the cress in the upper portion of each wrap. Place generous amounts of shredded chicken meat on top of the wilted cress going from the center to just the top edge of the wraps. Spoon 1/8 of the chutney or Vidalia jam over the chicken meat. Put several sprigs of fresh tarragon over the chutney or jam. Season the filling with salt and pepper.
- Roll the wraps into snug cone shapes, very tight at the bottom and looser at the top so that the cress and chicken meat are visible. Wrap the parchment or deli paper around each cone and secure with a 4 inch wooden skewer.
- Chill for up to 4 hours before assembling as part of the menu in each box.