Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Things Change. Live and Learn. Party Planning Crash Course Part 4

Well. We're in the thick of it now, Chums. Three days and counting to our holiday party and I am pleased to tell you the baking is complete. We finished the remaining food procurement this morning.

I wish I could tell you it all went swimmingly. If this were a stylized entertaining and cooking coffee table book, it would have. But the reality of anything that runs is that occasionally it breaks. A husband in the Navy has taught me a lesson in appreciating my own skill to resolve issues that arise myself instead of weeping, balling up my apron, and stomping off down the hall to beg the caterer to take over while I repaired my eye makeup in the mirror. You know, when something breaks aboard ship they have to fix it themselves, no one is coming to bail them out. They have to be capable, always testing themselves, repairing, refining, moving on. I admire this attitude, especially in those who do have a choice and do not have to do it themselves. I am modeling a world on this mindset. I see no reason I cannot cater my own parties and clean my own carpets. And fix everything that does not work along the way.

This cocktail party for 50 which will now be 70 is a small study in repairs, changes, and the importance of flexibility. If one did not roll with the ever expanding guest list and the lack of availability of quality products or preferred serviceware, one would be a petrified statue with unwashed hair in the middle of their party when the food ran out one hour into the festivities.
Look, the fact of the matter is that the fruit you planned on may not look fresh, something will burn and you will have to whip up gorgeres and still need to clean and dress yourself properly, and someone will get a crazy idea about reorganizing your venue an hour before the bell rings. It will all happen, and you will have to overcome it all. And you will. Swim, Cher. Never sink. Because this is war and it is fought before anyone arrives and in places no guests see when they are there. This is your war. Do not surrender. Never, ever let them see you sweat.

The menu has changed a bit based on what looked best, availabilty, and the Hostess schedule of execution:

Passed hors d'ourves:

Caviar and Smoked Salmon on Buckwheat Blini with Creme Fraiche
(Frozen Vodka Display)
Jerked Pulled Pork Mini Sandwiches on Tostones with Mango Chutney
Lobster and Porcini Stuffed Mushrooms
Marinated Aged Salami and Provolone on Rosemary Skewers

Cocktail Buffet:

Sliced Tenderloin on Caper Butter Crostini with Horseradish Sauce
Sliced Ham on Rosemary or Cheddar Biscuits with Mustard Assortment and Cornichon
Cheese and Mousse Display
Bread stick and Pretzel Display with Dips (Cheddar Horseradish, Crab, Tampenade, Spinach)
Grilled Pineapple Display

Milk and Cookie Display

Gingerbread Cake with Sweetened Cream
Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Chocolate Chip Cupcake Cookies (two passes, we ate the first first batch)
Lime Meltaways
Five Layer Bars

Christmas Champagne Punch
Wine and Beer
Mixed Cocktails
Soft Drinks

For your reference, the followingn items are complete and refridgerate or freeze well, allowing yours truly to pace herself doing a little each day:

Buckwheat Blini
Lobster and Porcini Stuffed Mushrooms
Caper Butter
Rosemary and Cheddar Biscuits
Gingerbread Cake
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cupcake Cookies
Lime Meltaways (dough only)
Five Layer Bars

The decorating and trees are finished and complete but the cleaning is still to go. That is where we stand at little over 72 hours and counting. Stick with me, our moment of greatness awaits, Pals...

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