Last week was so much fun….I spent the majority of it preparing for a party I catered for our friends Lowell and Nancy on Saturday evening. They were welcoming some friends from our church into their neighborhood. Lowell and Nancy are such gracious hosts and some of the most generous people I have ever met – they’re quite inspiring. So it was my pleasure to cater the party.
We met a few weeks ago to talk about the menu, decor, buffet placement, etc. I then worked out a menu, which Nancy and I tweaked along the way, and last Tuesday I did all the grocery shopping I could do in advance. On Wednesday food prep began and by Saturday afternoon, Jeff was helping me unload the car at Lowell and Nancy’s beautiful home. Their house overlooks a lake, which made working in their kitchen a pleasure. The view from the window over the sink is spectacular!
Between 2:30 and 4:00 I got the bar, the dessert table and the appetizer buffet set and then at 4:00 I began putting the finishing touches on the food.
Nancy and Lowell chose a nautical theme and I had great fun coming up with ideas for the bar and buffets. Jeff agreed to tend bar, so I wanted him to have a nice space to work. I created the bar using a 4 foot table; two vases with sand, rope and shells; a piece of reclaimed wood; and some other decorations including a string of battery-operated lights. Everyone at the party commented on the bar.
Thanks to my good friend, Laura Kelley, I was well-attired for the event. I wore the apron she made me in early December. It was the perfect accompaniment to my all black outfit! Click here to see the apron and to visit Laura’s blog, Sew Much To Learn.
The appetizers were set up in the kitchen; but I didn’t want to just set everything on one flat surface, so I used some wooden boxes and cake stands that I covered with fabric for height.
On the appetizer buffet were Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Orange Sauce, Asparagus En Croute, Petite Beef Wellington, Marinated Cheese w/ Crackers, and Clams Oreganata. It was a nice mix of flavors and a good variety of foods – one chicken, one beef, one seafood, one veggie and one cheese appetizer. There was also a nice mix of hot, cold and room temperature foods.
The dessert buffet was set up in a separate space so that people would mingle a bit. I used another 4 foot table and some boxes and a lazy Susan for height. I also brought from home a bright yellow buoy that Jeff and I purchased somewhere over the years on our travels – it looked nice with the nautical theme and added a punch of color to the table.
The desserts included fruit skewers with sour cream and brown sugar dip, mini almond joy cupcakes (which I pinned quite some time ago from a blog entitled Cookies & Cups. I’ve made these several times – always to good reviews!), and miniature salted caramel budino (a dessert Jeff and I had at one of our favorite Philadelphia restaurants – Barbuzzo. In fact, the salted caramel budino at Barbuzzo was voted best dessert by Philadelphia Magazine).
Each item was marked with a tent-card. Of course the cards fit the nautical theme. I really enjoy making food identification cards for all my events – it eliminates people having to ask some variation of, “now what is this?”. I like finding the right font, designing a card to fit the theme, and for some reason I especially love the mass-production part – maybe because it’s a time I can sit back and not think….hmmmmm.
The following is a slide show from the evening:
The party was a great success. Lowell and Nancy’s friends from church met their new neighbors, a neighbor who was moving the next day got a chance to say goodbye, and Jeff and I met some folks from our church we didn’t know!
An hour after everyone left, the buffets and bar were dismantled, the food was put away and Jeff and I were in the car heading for home. I sure hope Lowell and Nancy were in their pj’s without a worry in the world and proclaiming, “mmm mmm mmm!”