New Castle News

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November 2, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Tasty dishes fit for a restaurant buffet

NEW CASTLE — My first recollection of visiting a buffet restaurant was for my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary.

That was a long time ago, and I don’t remember much except that there was a large group of us and the restaurant was somewhere in Boardman.

Eateries that serve buffet-style meals seem to ebb and flow in popularity, but at tourist destinations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City, hotels abound with buffets that tease with foods and desserts not generally served at home.

That’s the good and bad about them—  all in one fell swoop.

I’m not particularly a fan of buffets, but recently was at a hotel and another location where the buffet was a busy place. At the hotel, the food was good but surprisingly, there were limited selections of entrées and side dishes. At the second place, the buffet was superb — a salad bar with an interesting mix of ingredients, at least 10 or 12 vegetable dishes, breads, meats, and cakes, pies, cookies and other over-the-top desserts. I had self control. I walked past most of the sweet stuff.

But I did fall in love with the rice pudding and wheat berry salad at the hotel’s buffet. I don’t make rice pudding at home because my husband has issues with anything custard-y, and the wheat berry salad was a whole new culinary experience and very pleasing. It had texture, crunch and great flavor.

Today’s selections of rice pudding, sugar snap peas with red peppers, wheat berry salad and French silk pie were all featured at the buffets, and the recipes for crab cup party appetizers and baked glazed ham would be sensational for a home buffet. With the approaching holidays, we’re always on the look-out for recipes to feed a crowd of hungry people.

If you have some great party or buffet dishes, share them with us at Culinary Conversation.

It’s an understatement that Lawrence County knows how to cook.

Rice Pudding

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