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A Soiree on 2 Days Notice...

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Just Because...
Just Because...

Monday, December 31, 2007

A Soiree on 2 Days Notice...

First of all, take it from me - do not plan a "It's Not A Holiday Soiree" Soiree on 2 days notice AFTER the holidays. You will drive yourself nuts.

One good thing that came out of my impulsiveness was that I hope to plan a soiree every few months based on schedules and such, as I have all these entertaining goodies from Southern Living, Crate & Barrel, Colin Cowie, etc. Plus, I adore having people over. The prep (outside of the cooking) - notsomuch.

There's the obsessive housecleaning. There's sending Fuzzy to the groomers (you know because she sheds - everywhere). There's the hunting through various stores to find the *right* ingredients. Plus - there are recipes that I either see on Food Network or on two of my favorite foodie blogs, Erin Cooks! and Pink Shoe Cookbook so, of course, I must try - and who better to be guinea pigs but my friends, right?

This little get together had recipes courtesy of Food Network (Giada - Everyday Italian - of course), Erin Cooks! and a few others. Plus, as MB can attest, when I have a soiree or someone over, I tend to cook for an army. It's a H.'s family thing, I guess. So, without further ado - here's the menu of the "It's Not A Holiday Soiree"

What I did not make were a crudites platter, a shrimp cocktail platter, bruschetta, etc. Why try to recreate the wheel when Bertoli and Publix do it so much better, right?
However, on the appetizer side of things were: Erin's Fabulous Artichoke Dip (oh. my. god - this is permanently in the arsenal!),a cheese plate including Erin's Starry Night Baked Brie, fruit, asiago and cheddar cheeses. I thought Reese was going to shoot me when I called asking her "OK - cheeses - what should I get?" Yes, I know that anything with the name Cabot or Cracker Barrel is NOT an option. (Hey - it was my first cheese plate, 'k?). Reese is the sommelier in training so I figured she was well versed in all things wine-y.

Also I made Marinated Spanish Olives. I must say, I am the gal who picks the olives off the pizza, asks for everything without olives but has them on hand just in case my friends want them. Ever since I was a child, I detested olives. I made these the night before because they suggest an 8 hour marinate time. Plus - improvisation was needed. I couldn't find Sherry Vinegar at Publix or Fresh Market so my happy behind decided Sherry is a product of wine, right - therefore Red Wine Vinegar it was. Plus I couldn't find coriander in the house, but the next morning I added it in after and still - it was fine. Now, like I said - Me + olives = not good. I was pickin' at these olives repeatedly and I. Love. Them! Such a fabulous recipe.

A southern tradition I have learned is that Crock Pot Meatballs must be served. And they are simmered in a super simple sauce of dijon mustard, chili sauce and grape jelly. Now I know it sounds gross, but let me tell you - these are sooooo good. I also Sandra Lee'd it with some pre-made frozen meatballs from the freezer which saved some time. My house smelled fabulous.

Dessert treat was a decadent Panettone Bread Pudding with Warm Cinnamon Syrup. Now this - this my friends, is the piece de resistance... much like the olives, I'm not a fan of the bread pudding. But made with panettone bread?? I was skeptical at best. However, during the Food Network special, Bobby Flay said that this was delicious. Couple that with D from Chic and Charming/Shopaholics Anonymous' review on her blog of one of Giada's bread puddings which was a hit. Not one to shirk from a challenge, off I went in search of panettone. As you may be aware - panettone is mostly available during the holidays so this dish is seasonal. But if anything, you must try it - at least once. You'll thank me - swear. I have extra of the cinnamon syrup which I could eat with a spoon if I was that greedy. However - I'd like to fit into my jeans so that's not an option *LOL*.

For cocktails... you know I had to go all out - and all out I did. I decided that in addition to wine, beer, soda and normal cocktails, a Pomegranate Champagne Punch would be the specialty cocktail. I decided that it should be served out of the lovely Colin Cowie cocktail dispenser which I procured during a late night insomnia spell

... and served in teal stemless flutes courtesy of Crate & Barrel.

Now - I didn't get the memo re: Citrus vodka, but I tossed in a lemon and that was fine. I also didn't have Seltzer water - but a small bottle of ginger ale substituted finely. The punch - that sucker can knock someone on their butt. It also doesn't help that I added extra "spirit" to the mix. Let's say that cocktail is one of my favorites...

All in all, a good time was had by all - and I have leftovers for days...

(My first guest arrived before I could take a picture of the rest of the spread - but can you see the copper/red/too much serving platter theme. Yeah, I know - I need Southern Living Rehab)

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