Party On: Make 2+ Kits at Once

Usually, doubling up on kits does not change much about the recipe; but sometimes small adjustments can be made to make cooking for a larger crowd easier.

EASIEST WAY TO MISE EN PLACE 2x THE INGREDIENTS
* MISE THIS: When doubling up on kits one of the best steps to keep sane is to lay out all the ingredients and match them up with their counterparts. This will help you know where everything is and chop each ingredient only once. (Nothing is less fun than finding a little bag of uncooked rice when you’re almost done cooking…we know!)
* AND THIS: This might be one of our best kept secrets…. a lot of times you can use the bags themselves as “mise bowls” to avoid having too many dishes. Simply place the ingredient on a cutting board, chop according to recipe directions and then place on top of the bag to hold until ready to use (this works great for garlic, herbs, etc).

DO I NEED TO DOUBLE THE SIZE OF POTS AND PANS?
* YES! You want to make sure you double up on the size of your pots and pans too. That will make cooking easier and keep the recipe from spilling.
* Small pot with lid (4-6qt) = Medium pot with lid (6-8qt)
* Medium deep sauté pan = Large deep sauté pan

OIL, SALT AND PEPPER
* YES FOR OIL! We need to double up on oil every time we double up kits. If the recipe says heat 1 Tbsp. oil, double up and heat 2 Tbsp. oil, this will make sure it’s enough to keep from sticking.
* NOT SO MUCH FOR SALT AND PEPPER. They should be used by the pinch and to taste. (You can always add salt, but you can never take it out!) You should add a little more than the recipe specifies, but don’t double up completely about 0.5x more should be more than enough.

WHEN DO I INCREASE THE HEAT?
It’s important to know when to increase the heat and when not to. For the most part, the rule is to keep stove top heat the same and increase oven heat. In general, more food takes longer to warm up than less food, but stove tops reach high temperatures pretty fast and maintain easily.

* NO! When on the stove top: When cooking on the stove top, increase the heat higher than the specified temperature when heating up oil to sear proteins and when simmering sauces. When there is twice as much sauce to simmer, turning up the heat will make sure you achieve the bubbling effect you are after.

* YES! When baking in the oven: Increase the heat by 10-15 degrees to make up for the temperature lost when you need to bake a greater amount. (e.g., 350ºF –> 375ºF)

WHEN DO I DOUBLE UP WATER AMOUNTS?
* YES! Double when the amount of water is added to a sauce, marinade, rice (or another cooked grain), or when it’s a specific component of the dish.

* NO! Don’t double when the amount of water is being used to cook pasta or potatoes in boiling water. It is only important that you have enough water to cover the pasta or potatoes to cook fully immersed.

WHEN DO I DOUBLE UP ON TIME?
* GOOD NEWS: If you follow the rules above on how to select appropriate pans and when to increase the temperature of the oven or stove top, you should almost never have to increase the time.
* JUST NOTE: It will only take a little longer if you are cooking the dish in one large single portion (something similar to a meatloaf or a large pie) or if you didn’t increase the pan/your pan is not big enough to allow the ingredients to settle with the same surface area as they would have with smaller amounts. More mass will keep the food from having enough surface area exposure to heat to cook in the appropriate time. In those cases, the time should be increased by 10-15 minutes to accommodate.

HOW TO PLATE FAMILY STYLE
* BOWLS ARE YOUR FRIEND: Serve all the components in a bowl (e.g. a bowl of mashed potatoes, a bowl of rice, etc.)
* PRE-SLICE THE MEATS FOR EASE: Pre-slice all the meats after you are done cooking them. This will help people serve themselves with ease. It will also make your platters appear elegant and full.
* SAUCES IN LITTLE BOWLS: Serve sauces and dressings in little bowls with a sauce spoon or a pour spout vs. directly on the food/platter. This will conserve the sauce, minimize messy leftover sauce on platters and will allow guests to grab as much as they like with ease.
* SEPARATE GARNISH ITEMS: serve garnish items at the end or in separate bowls for guests to serve themselves. Dynamic dishes bring family and friends together when plating, so serving the garnish separately and letting everyone garnish their own plates will make dinner more interactive and conversational. (It’s a great way for little kids to feel independent, too!)
* IF IT’S A ONE POT DISH, SERVE IN THE POT: There are a few things homier than a pot filled with goodness. Bring a trivet to the table and let guests and family members serve themselves. It will inspire and warm everyone up to see the dish in the pot and smell it as you uncover it on the table! Serve with the garnishes on the side.

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