Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cocktail Party Prep

It's Wednesday..........only two more days until the cocktail party. I am getting so excited. On Sunday I sat down and prepared my final lists in detail checking off my accomplishments as I completed them.

  • TO DO--which includes things like cleaning the house, preparing the yard, noting the Thursday window washer guy that will be coming, chilling trays, music play lists, making place cards for food, make a mani and pedi appt., and buying anything remotely related to a decorating need, cornstalks, pumpkins, mums, and stocking the frig with white wine, prosecco and beer. 
  • CONFIRMATION--call one week before ---D'Angelo's Italian Market Princeton, NJ.... to confirm my order and delivery of  2 Antipasta trays and 2 Italian cookie trays, along with the confirmation of a server that will be assisting at the party for 5 hours. It makes my life a little easier if I order something to add to the menu that doesn't require more man hours from me!
  • TO PURCHASE (non-food items)-- my husband and I completed this on Saturday. It includes everything from party decor to simple things like light bulbs. It is very detailed (because I HATE to run errands and get home and have forgotten something!) checking things off as we go and not coming home until the mission was completed. Keep in mind I do not do chaos well!
  • MENU--I have been gathering menu ideas from magazine, cookbooks, and my own tried and true recipe files. I find it a bit more challenging to have a party these days with all of the food allergy issues that some guest may have; gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, etc. Then there are the vegan, vegetarian etc. to consider as well. Keeping those in mind I crafted my menu making sure there was something for everyone. This is also the day that I choose what platters, dishes, trays and utensils I will be using and label them appropriately. I can just pull them out when preparing the food on the final day and plate them up. I also, do a dry run of where each platter will go on the tables, so the guess work at the last minute has been removed. It saves time and headaches in the end.
  • GROCERY LIST--Make a final grocery list after crafting the menu. Since I also purchase my flowers and ice from my supermarket, they are always included as well. My shopping day is either Tuesday or Wednesday, two-three days before the party. Sometimes last minute fresh bread etc. will require one day before pick-up.
  • FOOD PREP DAY-- One day before, I do as much food prep as possible.  I set aside the complete day. Cutting, chopping, assembling as many items that can be done ahead of time saves so much chaos on party day. I store everything in air tight containers, ready to place on trays the morning of the party.
  • DAY OF PARTY-- EARLY DAY---Finish food prep and assemble trays. Stock bar with ice and fill beverage containers. Arrange food trays..........and oh that's right.......... WHEW-----I have to get ready too! Now where is that black dress????

We are doing something unique this year. With all of our moves we have come across some of the most awesome foods. So many times we reminisce about the taste of something-----how delicious it was or if I only had this for our party. This year I decided to make that happen. I am using two companies from our past to add a personal story to our party; Zingermans Deli from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Marsha's Buckeyes, from Perrysburg, Ohio!!! I am also making our token Houston Texas Margarita.......with a Fall spin.

When the boxes arrived I was so excited............

We love Zingerman's City Goat Cheese, Manchengo Cheese, Fig & Walnut Preserves and of course American Spoon Cherry Preserves made for Zingermans. These will all be featured on our cheese platters! 

When we lived in Perrysburg, Ohio, Marsha had started her business in her basement. She is now shipping just about everywhere. Our box arrived neatly packed with ice in this perfectly arranged tray of #94 buckeyes.......pure heaven....peanut butter and chocolate!! AND won't these look beautiful displayed with our FALL theme?  

When we lived in Houston, Texas I came across a Margarita recipe that will knock your socks off. I have shared this recipe and at the end of every evening it has been served there are a group of happy guests! I am making a new twist on our traditional recipe, paying homage to Houston, with a Fall version.

Well its time for me to get busy with the list of the day!  I hope you found this segment helpful with your party planning, maybe taking away an idea or two.

I will be back with the final party blog next Monday. Until then............

ENJOY  your weekend!