My Blog Friend Fighting Windmills sent me this interview meme as a way to get me back to the blog before the first anniversary of my last post, so here goes!!
1. What taste can take you back to a strong childhood memory? Chocolate. Definitely chocolate.
5. How do you spend your Saturdays typically? Shopping, watering and weeding at the community garden, cleaning up the house, putting my son down for a nap, falling asleep myself, waking up, computer time, son’s up, play play play, dinner, then put son to bed and futilely trying to stay awake until my husband gets home from his gig.
This year, I am really excited about our annual 4th of July Extavaganza. And here is one of the reasons: I found these great invitations at www.specialeventticketing.com. They look and feel just like concert tickets, and you can fully customize them. They are also less expensive than most other pre-printed invitations. And when you work full-time, are mommy to a toddler, and send out over 60 invitations, handwritten isn’t an option. I was extremely happy with their service.
I’m also excited about the menu. I’m not going to spoil it for those guests who read here, but we are really going back to BBQ basics. And no, guys, we aren’t having mini-burgers again…
Someone found me recently searching “what appetizers do youj have at wine tast”. I’m going to assume I have a character limit in my report screen, and that that googler was really searching for what to erve at a wine tasting…
And here’s what I’d go with – match it up depending on the wine you are serving:
The classic is cheese, of course. And since I’m a cheese nerd, it’s only right and proper that I list that first. There are tons of references available on the internet to suggest pairings, and since I don’t know what you’re pouring, I can’t get too detailed. But some of my favorites are nice goat’s milk bries, epoisses, and aged goudas. Sometime I’ll have to run down my faves for you…
And what do you eat with the cheese? Unless I’m serving a gloopy cheese like a brie, that really needs a carrier to be eaten in polite company, I tend to slice and serve. If I need a bread or cracker, I’ll usually go with a baguette, thinly sliced. Crackers impart flavor, and I like to just taste the cheese.
What else to serve? I’d go with thinly sliced pears, or chocolate.
Of course, there are endless other options. But since someone took the time to ask what I’d serve, that’s the answer!
Why on earth would you want to cook edamame in a crock pot? Really, it doesn’t take long. Boil water, put in frozen beans, bring back to a boil, cook about 5 mintes, drain, salt, eat.
So, if you should pass this way again, please let me know exactly how busy you are, that you want to cook edamame in a crock pot.
Okay – I take a lot of flack for not posting often. And I admit it – I don’t. I post as often as I feel the need.
But I have finally found someone who updates his blog less frequently than I: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. You can read him here: http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/
Please don’t get into a debate about good, bad or indifferent on Tehran here. Unless you’re talking about what to serve at a party where you intend to talk about good, bad, or indifferent on Tehran.
So, you want to have 60 people over, but don’t have much room for them? Parties where your guests are belly to belly and butt to but are the best! Here’s how you do it.
First, be sure this is realistic for your house. You want a lot of people, not a safety hazard. You know your house better than I. If you decide you think you can, then…
Turn on the AC well before the party, and drop it a few degrees lower than you are comfortable. It’s gettin’ hot in here, but you don’t (necessarily) want to be takin’ off all your clothes.
People congregate by the food. So set your main food items in one room, but set up snack foods (nuts, trail mix, M&Ms) in other rooms. I put snacks in my small front parlor, the appetizers and small foods in the dining room, beverages and main dishes in the kitchen, and more snacks in the family room and patio. It helps that our house is L-shaped, and each of these rooms leads very well to the next without strange hallway navigation. Setting your food up in this way will help encourage flow throughout the house, and encourages mingling from room to room.
If possible, open up the great outdoors. Even a small patio will give guests the opportunity for a breath of fresh air.
Don’t worry about having a seat for each guest. We do well with seats for about half. To help with this, serve foods that are easy to eat standing up. No knives (yes, this is a mantra of mine).
Appetizers are a great way to welcome your guests and let them know you are ready to party. They show tha you have put an extra touch of effort into the evening. They not only stimulate the appetite, they stimulate activity. Since guests will always gather around the food, they help to break the ice at a small party with guests who don’t know each other well. Appetizers also give your guests something to do while getting settled.
But appetizers do not need to be complicated. You can put out some nuts, or chips and salsa. If you want to keep it super easy, but super tasty, here are my two favorites – no cooking required:
- A cheese plate. There are myriad ways you can put a cheese plate together, and none is wrong. Try a sheep, goat, and cow. A brie, a blue, and a hard cheese. Use water crackers or mini toasts – if the cheese is good, it’s carrier doesn’t need much flavor. My favorite carrier for cheese – my hands.
- Sliced bread with garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Use the best quality of each you can afford. Chop one clove of garlic very finely, and mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dipping bowl, or individual dipping bowls. For an extra-special presentation: pour the oil. vinegar and garlic into a small prep bowl. put a small plate over hte top of the bowl, and invert them together, so the plate is sitting on the table, the bowl is upside down containing the mixture. When you remove the prep bowl in front of your guests, of course, the oil and vinegar will come spilling out. Practice a bit first, and don’t let it sit for too long, lest the oil and vinegar seep out from the bottom of the bowl.
Tonight, we have tips about having casual parties outdoors.
Keep your food simple. In fact, this should be your entertaining mantra. But it is particularly important if you intend for your guests to be outdoors. Why, you ask, would it be particularly important? Logistics: Do you really want to be in the kitchen cooking while everyone else is outside drinking all your rose and prosecco?
Try grilling (obvious, I know). Most grilled food can be fully readied in advance, then slapped on the bbq.
Keep beverages in a cooler outside. Or a cute galvanized bucket with ice. Again, you don’t want to be running back and forth inside the house to get drinks. Also, your guests can help themselves as needed.
Don’t forget the tablecloth weights, napkin holder, and some sort of cover for food that’s outside. Citronella torches and candles are also important, unless you prefer to hire someone to fan the flies from your delicious food.
Of course, a back-up location for bad weather is essential. Remember that “bad weather” doesn’t include only rain. Dining outside in the cold, the wind, or the unshaded hot sun can be just as unpleasant, if drier.
I thought that today I would throw out a whole mess of suggestions for those of you who are looking for themes for your parties. Kind of a brainstorming thing. I’ll probably take some of my favorites and expand on them later. If you have a theme you want to try, but aren’t sure how to pull it off, post it, and I’ll see what I can come up with!
- Worst Bridesmaid Dress You Ever Had to Wear
- Halloween (okay, that was a gimme)
- White Party (Black party, red party… – thanks P-Diddy!)
- Wine Tasting
- Coffee Tasting
- Chocolate Tasting
- Cheese Tasting
- Literary Theme (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Jane Eyre…)
- Poker/Other Card Game
- Football/Baseball/Basketball/Auto Racing
I’m sure to be adding to this list as I lay in bed tonight thinking “I can’t believe I didn’t list that – what a dork!”
Can’t wait to hear your suggestions!
I’ll admit it – this isn’t a late-night post. I missed yesterday. Sometimes the real people in your life simply have to take first place in your plans.
I wanted to give you an update on my personal holiday party procrastination – I have now ordered my invitations through a website called Tiny Prints (www.tinyprints.com). I’ll let you know how my experience with them turns out. I really liked their selection – they had some very nice eclectic designs.
My theme has also been chosen – it will be a candycane-tini wonderland!