Tomorrow night, my wife Pere and I are hosting a cocktail party at our house for 100 or so of our friends and acquaintances. We do everything ourselves, including all of the food, drinks, etc. What started as a four times a year event has scaled back to once a year as things have gotten bigger, and the subsequent planning, shopping, cooking, and preparing has taken longer and longer.
This year's party doesn't have a specific theme, but here's an idea of some of the food we've been working on:
- Bacon wrapped pistachio stuffed dates
- Spicy sausage cheese puffs
- Dolmades (lamb stuffed grape leaves)
- Mango curried shrimp in wonton cups
- Herb crusted beef tenderloin
- Pumpkin hummus w/ pita
- Shrimp cocktail pizza
- Tahini chicken salad rounds
- Pepperoni and Asiago Pinwheels
- Brie w/ raspberry chipotle sauce
- Assorted cheeses, olives, and Spanish chorizo
- Crudite w/ green goddess dip
- Clam dip
There are a couple of other odds and ends we're pulling in as well. The fun part of all this is making enough for the 100+ people were planning to have over. I'm always nervous that there won't be enough food, even though in the 8 years or so we've been doing this, we've never run out.
Beyond the food, there's beverages to be planned. This year, a friend of mine has offered to loan us his brand spanking new margarita machine, for making frozen versions of the drink. I bought enough of the drink concentrate and tequila to make about 18 gallons. Add to that a respectably stocked bar, several cases of beer, a case or so of wine, and a few pitchers of special fall cocktails (think apples and cranberries), and I think we're just about set.
Pere's been putting in overtime. Beyond the food and drinks, she's fully responsible for the overall atmosphere of the party - everything from the candles and lighting to the outdoor seating areas and a whole lot more. She thinks of and takes care of a lot of little touches that would just totally pass me by.
What's also pretty cool this time around is that two local food bloggers I met this year are coming to the party. It'll be interesting to get their take on the whole production.
I really need to get better about taking notes from my parties - what works well, what doesn't, who ended up coming, etc. It really would make the whole planning process easier, I think, to be able to refer back to previous successes.