Well after 2 days of preparation I believe I pulled it off! The table was set, the weather was beautiful, no one got lost, we started with 12 but the flu took it down to 10 guests and what a bunch of gusty gals! My mom is in her 60's, widowed and more active then ever. Card clubs, travel clubs, social events, you name it, so this was one of her groups and they do lunch once a month and always try a new restaurant. This month it was Cafe' Debbie. I made fresh from my garden, Bruschetta and Brie with a honey and dried cranberry topping for appetizers with baguettes. I had the menu posted there so everyone could see what they would be HOPEFULLY enjoying.
Let me talk about prepping for this. I am not a caterer, I have had many caterers in my kitchen, so I tried to take my cues from them, but WOW, it is hard work, especially on your own. But if I were to give advice to anyone who wanted to attempt a party like this there are things to consider.
- When choosing your menu, keep in mind food temperature. If you are alone in preparation and serving, can you do it all and get everything out while still warm?
- Portions, how many of what do you need and count on a bit extra for flubs or requests for seconds.
- Anything you can do ahead, DO! I toasted my baguettes the day before and froze, only had to warm them in an oven. Marinated my lamb chops, and made all my raviolis the day before.
- I try to make notes to myself on timing, I usually work back from the time the event is supposed to begin and decide how long I need for each thing and write down the times I should be starting each dish.
- On the day of, make sure you calculate 2 important times into your time table, time for kitchen clean up and body clean up! It is great to spend all that time making a beautiful event but if dishes are piled up and you smell, it sort of defeats the purpose!
- Remember little details matter! Candles, flowers, I like to try to always provide a take home memory, it's the little things that set you apart and makes the event EXTRAordinary! One simple one-the day before my party, I slice lemons very thin, lay them on parchment or silpat on a baking sheet and freeze. These perfect frozen lemon wedges are now your ice cubes in your water glasses.
Needless to say, I had great intentions to photograph each plate but didn't have the time, so here you will see the dessert plate. I couldn't decide between chocolate and fruit so I did both, I did my famous easy brownies, which is a box mix brownies and when you take it out of the oven use a wooden dowel and poke holes in the brownies and drizzle sweetened condensed milk and then a good quality jarred caramel sauce and let cool before you cut. It is ridiculous! For the fruit dessert, I decided on a pineapple upside down cake. I have a great recipe given to me by a friend that I will post in another entry, but I wanted to make them individual servings so I used a large muffin tin. One pineapple ring fit right into the bottom of each one, it was perfect. I put some of my caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle and made it look decorated! Super Easy and looks great!
Well another successful event down and I was so relieved it went well! On a side note, I would like to remind any and all of you out there that whoever you consider to be an older generation to yours, pay attention! These gals that came to my house, were all my mom's generation -60's and up. They all had great stories to share and plenty of tips to pass along. They were a terrific bunch of women and I admire all of them for getting out there, being active, having fun and enjoying life. You know the old saying, the youth is wasted on the young, HA these women prove it all wrong! They are living their lives to the fullest, lucky ladies! Until next time....