Monday, March 12, 2012

What A Great Time To Entertain!

We don't have the seasonal pressure to put on the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas, or New Years Eve party.  This is the season to exceed expectations with super creative get-togethers and great menu ideas.
My real strength is staging or doing the set-up for a special event.  I prefer to leave the food preparation to fast food chains, grocery stores or restaurants.   I know you may be surprised to read this because I do cook and I do have a culinary arts degree, but most of you don't and aren't expected to.
In my 25 years experience, the reason so many of my clients had stopped entertaining was because of the food factor.  Food is expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable. By eliminating that stress-er, you will become the greatest party planners.   You can learn how to display food, garnish food and set a table just like a pro.
Here are a few party ideas you may consider doing.  I promise, the menus will be simple, and the  recipes will be super easy.  

First, I present the Paid My Taxes Party!  The 15% or 30% menu will reflect how much you paid this year.  I'll give you the 15% first...

The Appetizers
Jumbo Shrimp
Purchase prepared Jumbo Shrimp either fresh­ from the fish counter at the grocery store or frozen and defrost as directed on the package. Make sure the shrimp are cleaned and shelled when you purchase them with only the tails remaining.  Serve with cocktail sauce and lemon slices.

Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Can be found in the frozen section of grocery store, prepare as directed.

Petite Quiche
Can be found in frozen section of grocery store, prepare as directed.

Chilled Roasted Vegetables 
Have 3 or 4 varieties selected from the deli or self serve section of the grocery store.

Wine, Martinis, Assorted Soft Drinks & Water

The First Course:
Thin slice of Fig Cake topped with a thin slice of Roquefort Cheese, topped with Dressed Baby Greens and Candied Walnuts, Artisan Breads & Butter
*The Fig Cake as well as the Roquefort Cheese is available at   
  Whole Foods or specialty food stores. Whether you purchase a 
  square or triangle slice of the Fig Cake match the same shape  
  with the cheese so each salad is uniform.
*You can purchase a blend of baby greens, candied walnuts   
  (pecans and almonds work just as well) and a Balsamic 
  Vinaigrette, or make one.
*Keep size, shape, and amounts the same when plating up, you 
  can pre plate this ahead of time and cover with plastic wrap and 
  refrigerate. The baby greens can be tossed and dressed just  
  before service and portioned out on each plate.

Main Course:
Roast Tenderloin of Beef served with Horseradish Sauce
Preheat oven to 500º 4-5 lb. Fillet of Beef.  Have the beef tied by the butcher if possible if not, give it a try.  Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels.
With your hands, cover the tenderloin with 2 tablespoons of  softened butter.                                    Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Caraway Seeds, 1 table spoon Kosher Salt, 
and 1 table spoon of freshly ground pepper.                                                                                                                                        Place on a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes. 
Take the meat out of the oven and cover tightly with aluminum foil for 15 minutes. 
Remove the butcher sting, slice and serve.
Horseradish Sauce:

½ cup sour cream

½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup prepared horseradish (it is in a jar, choose the white)

Mashed Potatoes or Duchess Potatoes
Mashed Potatoes
Instant or buy prepared from a specialty grocery.  If you are making instant select the amount and make them with real butter, light cream, chopped fresh chives or truffle oil.
Duchess Potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400ºF
Prepare instant Mashed Potatoes as directed for 4 servings but make sure you only add 2 tablespoons of milk or cream. 
In a small mixing bowl beat 1 large egg yoke, add the hot potatoes and beat on a medium speed until fluffy. 
Drop mix by spoonfuls or if you have a pastry bag using a big star tip on a greased cookie sheet (this is the step where you  can make these a day ahead cover the sheet pan and refrigerate).   Place in preheated 400ºF oven until golden, about 15 minutes.

Green Beans Almond
11/2 pound (24 oz.) bag of trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots or 2 cloves of garlic peeled and chopped
1/3 cup of water
salt and pepper
½ cup slivered Almonds
1 tablespoon butter
In a big saute' pan heat butter and olive oil  on a medium high heat.   Add the shallot and garlic and  cook until just golden.  Add the green beens, stir the beans with butter and shallot or garlic mixture and salt and pepper cook for about 20- 30 seconds then add the water . 
Turn the heat down to simmer and cover the pan. Cook the beans until just tender. Place beans in a serving dish.  Let the pan cool for a few minutes then wipe it clean with a paper towel.
Melt the tablespoon of butter in the pan at medium heat.  Add the slivered almonds and cook until lightly toasted.  Take them off immediately. Cool slightly and place on top of the green beans.

                                                                                                       The Dessert:
Chocolate Mousse Cake with Berries, Coffee, and Tea
Purchase a beautiful cake from a bakery and display it on a lovely cake stand.  When serving the cake, spoon some berries, that you will have all set in a bowl (sprinkle a little sugar and brandy on the berries if you would like) next to the slice of cake on the plate .

No comments:

Post a Comment