Q: My husband and I are the official chefs of an annual "work weekend" at the home of friends in Rhode Island. The house, known as Clingstone, needs all the love and attention family and friends can give it, but because we have limited hammer and nail skills we use our kitchen skills for a big evening celebration.
This year, we are short on time and ideas. Here are the criteria:
1) We have to be ready to serve 50-60 people on about $200.
2) Meat is okay as long as there's a vegetarian version.
3) Big casseroles (or pots) work best.
We don't want to repeat ourselves. In the past 4 years we've made veggie lasagna, Thai curry (vegan) with pork roast for carnivores, veggie enchiladas with green chile w/ homemade tortillas, eggplant parmigiana and spaghetti with clams. Every year we make a big salad and a fruit crisp for dessert.
We'd love to pick another identifiable ethnicity or style, but our creativity is zero this year. What can we make for this huge crowd that lives up to meals of the past?
Sent by Erin
Editor: Erin, this is a great question. I wonder about going Middle Eastern this year, with big bowls of couscous, parsley salad, hummus, and lamb or chicken kebabs, as well as roasted eggplant.
Readers, what would you suggest?
(Image: Erik Jacobs for The New York Times)