Thursday, March 4, 2010

2/27/10 - Party Planning

I love to throw parties and my apartment is such an enabler! We were so lucky when we found this place as it actually big enough to really have some people over. Since the kitchen is defined by a large granite island, I have the perfect built in buffet. I usually set up hot appetizers on the buffet and all the cheese and dips on my table.
This sometimes means that I spend a bit more time than I would like in the kitchen. I try to avoid this by doing as much of my prep in advance plus I have now learned which dishes serve themselves up easily. Here is the guide that I use when planning a party - notice that the hardest part (in my mind) is all the prep before hand (especially making sure you really have all the groceries you need)! Once things get going it just seems to keep below to see my menu and shopping lists

My party this weekend was about 20 college friends for some cocktails.

The menu was:
chips/ crackers/ nachos
cheese plate
dips & salsa
- blue cheese scallion dip (recipe WAY! at the bottom)
- hot spinach dip
- cilantro chimichurri yogurt dip (recipe at bottom)
- spiced mango curry yogurt dip
- guacamole
shrimp cocktail w spicy & traditional cocktail sauce
pigs in a blanket w mustard quad
mini meatballs (chipotle & moroccan spiced)
cheese wontons
tomato & mozz crostini
artichoke dip crostini
pulled pork sliders w pickles

ice cream bar
black bottom pumpkin cheesecake
peanut butter blondies

3 weeks in advance
plan date and theme

2 weeks in advance
plan menu
invite guests
begin non-perishable shopping (chips, crackers, small plates, napkins, cups, pickles)

1 week in advance
shop for following ingredients: (ice cream ingredients not listed)
-meats (pork shoulder, ground beef, lamb and pork, cocktail hot dogs)
-fish (shrimp)
- produce (celery, carrots, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, broccoli, scallions, red peppers, red onion, jalapenos, avocado, cilantro, basil, lemon, lime, garlic)
- frozen (spinach)
- pantry items (mustards, cocktail sauces, bbq sauce, brown sugar, breacrumbs, mango chutney, marinaded artichokes, pumpkin puree, peanut butter)
- dairy (2% greek yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, eggs, shredded cheddar, ricotta cheese, italian blend cheese, cheese plate, blue cheese crumbles)
- etc (wonton wraps, crescent rolls)

wednesday night
begin ice cream making
mix, roll and freeze meatballs (transfer to ziplock bag)

thursday night
make ice cream
bake blondies
assemble cheese wontons & freeze (transfer to ziplock bag)

friday day
final grocery trip (crostini bread, vine tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, slider rolls)

friday night
finish ice creams
roll pigs in a blanket and freeze (transfer to ziplock bag)
bake cheese cake
mix dips (not guacamole)
cook then chill shrimp

sat morning
(clean house!!!)
start pulled pork in crockpot
wash and prep crudites plate (bag each veg separately)
slice tomatoes and mozzarella, chiffonade basil (store separately in containers)
season and bake crostini
"plate" dips and cover with plastic wrap
get all serving dishes ready w silverware to serve

immediately before guests arrive
set table with all stable items (crackers, chips etc)
assemble hot appetizers on cookie sheets (try to make at least 2 sheets of each)
prepare cheese plate
assemble crudite plate (keep restock supply in fridge)
set out sauces & dips and remove plastic wrap
set out shrimp cocktail (in ice)
top crostini (and back up tray!)
mix guacamole

once first guests arrive
heat oven to 350F
place 1st round of sheets in oven
place hot dips in oven

once 1/2 of the food is gone do another round of cookie sheets and continue replishing food until guests are filled or you run out!

remember to take ice cream out approx 10 -15 min before you would like to serve it!

Dip Recipes
Cilantro Chimichuri Yogurt Dip
1 bunch cilantro leaves (about 1/2 c)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 single serving (1 c?) fage 2% yogurt (or any other greek yogurt)
- blend the top 4 ingredients in a blender and stir into yogurt - add salt & pepper to taste

scallion blue cheese dip
1 c light sour cream
1/2 c blue cheese crumbles (or crumble up a block)
2 scallions - finely diced
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- blend all together add salt & pepper to taste