Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Farewell Cocktail Party

Last night, I sent my friend Darren off with a food-centric cocktail party. Judging by the guests' raves, I'd say the fete was a smashing success.

When planning the menu earlier in the week, I wanted a mix of meat, fish and vegetarian summery snacks. I didn't want to turn on the oven at all during the party, and I wanted to make everything ahead of time.

Here's what I came up with:

Mini-Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
Walnut-Cheese Bites
Watermelon Balls with Parmesan and Mint
Indian Pulled-Chicken Wraps
Shrimp Deviled Eggs
Tuna Salad with Fennel, Cucumber and Tarragon
Chilled Minted Cucumber Honeydew Soup
Goat Cheese-Garlic Toasts
Mini Cupcakes
Chocolate-Espresso Sorbet

The meatballs were my mom's idea: prepared a la our usual family recipe, but bite-sized. The walnut-cheese bites were adorable; my mom spotted them in the Deen brothers' new book. Each one is a half a walnut topped with bleu cheese and half a red grape.

The watermelon balls were a riff on an appetizer I began making last summer. But instead of serving wedges to eat by hand, I served balls people could pick up with toothpicks. The combination of melon with shaved parmeggiano-reggiano cheese, mint, salt and black pepper is unusual but delicious.

I found the recipes for the pulled-chicken, tuna salad and goat cheese toasts in the August issue of Food & Wine. All were terrific.

The shrimp deviled eggs were thanks to the Minimalist. The soup has been one of my summer standbys for years now, and the mini cupcakes were made by Mom, from More From Magnolia. Finally, the sorbet was last week's flavor: not entirely my cup of tea (I think I prefer my sorbets fruity), but a respectable offering from Peggy Fallon's Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts.

Pretty much every platter was wiped clean by the end of the evening. But among the standouts were the deviled eggs; the tuna, which I served in mini hors d'oeuvres cups; and the mini-meatballs, which I kept warm in an electric frying pan--a very handy appliance for such affairs. Incidentally, my mom deserves major props for her indispensable prep work Friday night. Thanks, Mom!

With Darren handling the bar, I was able to devote all my energy to the food, and it paid off. It made me so happy to see people enjoying themselves and enjoying my food. Some of them even told me they felt inspired. Wow!

Darren left today for San Francisco, but I'm eagerly awaiting his return (he promises it will be in three years). I can't wait to throw his welcome back party.--S

1 comment:

Laura said...

dude, this party looked fantastic, and the food! oh the food! oh, the scrumptious lip-smacking goodies, make me salivate, even at 9:30 in the morning. loved the photos you slipped in as well! only none of spoon or fork??