Anatomy of a Party – “Time for a Party,” Part III: Food!

Cheese display.  Brie, Cocktail party food.

Invitations have been sent, RSVP’s are coming in, and with the party less than three weeks away, it is time to get my menu in order!

Hors d’oeuvres:

Crudites – which is really just the fancy French word for raw vegetables.  I have seen so many different ways of serving them on Pinterest recently.  I really like the idea of serving each different vegetable in its own serving dish so that i don’t have to refill and refresh the entire display, but just those individual dishes that are getting empty.  I think I will do that.  I will serve the crudites with a light ranch dressing.

Shrimp Cocktail – absolutely!  I always include shrimp cocktail for a cocktail party.  First, everyone loves it, and second, it is EASY!  I buy high quality large (26 – 30 per pound)  frozen shrimp.  I budget approximately four shrimp for each expected guest.  I always keep an extra bag or two of frozen shrimp in the freezer, just in case!  My favorite shrimp sauce is Al’s Shrimp Sauce which I spice up with additional horseradish.  I can buy this sauce in Ohio, but not in Florida, which kind of makes me sad.  For this party, the location is Ohio, so all is good!  I have this lovely aluminum shell dish that I love serving shrimp cocktail in, but, I just don’t think it will work with my Kraft paper runner that I have envisioned for this party.  I envision using Kraft paper to cover my table and then stamping clock and watch images on the paper.  I will use a variety of clocks as my centerpiece.  This may change up a little as I begin putting it together, but that is the plan!

Beef Tenderloin – Always a popular choice, I will order my beef tenderloin trimmed from my local butcher shop and cook it early in the day.  The beef will be cooked rare to medium, and sliced very thin, then served cold with small rolls, horseradish sauce.

Pinchos – Pinchos is the name of certain snacks typically eaten in bars, traditionally in northern Spain.  They are usually eaten in bars or taverns as a small snack while hanging out with friends or relatives; thus, they have a strong socializing component, and they are usually regarded as a cornerstone of Basque culture and society. They are related to tapas, the main difference being that pinchos are usually ‘spiked’ with a skewer or toothpick, often to a piece of bread.

The pinchos I plan to serve are:

  • grape tomatoes with fresh mozzarella
  • melon, prosciutto and mild swiss cheese
  • cheese tortellini, basil and sundried tomato
  • pineapple cubes wrapped with bacon

Cheese Display – Pretty self explanatory.  I will use a variety of cheeses, hard, soft, mild, a blue, and accompany it with a variety of ‘up-market’ crackers.

Hot Dishes:

Pasta – I will use conchigle pasta (shells) with a white sauce purchased a gourmet shop and green peas served in a warming dish for something substantial and hot for my guests.  Mine will look something like this…

Meatballs – I always include a variety of hot and cold foods, so meatballs will be on the menu for this party.  I have yet to decide which of the many meatball recipes I have.  I will be mulling this over in the next week.

Looking around my house this evening, I am trying to decide if I should use all white dishes, or clear glass dishes.  I purchased two adorable clocks the other day that I will use on my food table.  I have a huge clock that has stopped working.  I have been holding onto it, figuring I would eventually learn how to replace the clockworks, but now I am excited about using that for food display.

Stay tuned for the next Anatomy of a Party post…

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