Saturday, June 9, 2012

Final Touches and Tips

My guests will arrive around 5 tonight and I would like to be finished with all the food preparations by 1.  This will allow for some "feet up" time and a little cleaning.

Last of the prep work
  • Chicken assembled and ready to cook at 350 for 35 minutes.
Chicken breast pieces wrapped in bacon, then rolled in brown sugar, chili powder , and cayenne
  • Roasted Tomatoes for Parmesan cups oiled, salted, peppered, and ready for 375 for 10 minutes
Tomatoes will burst open when roasted
  • Shrimp is marinading in tequila, lime, garlic, and cilantro
These will broil for 2 1/2 minutes per side
  • Cucumbers have been sweated and filled with a cream cheese, shredded zucchini, red onion, garlic powder, and sliced orange peppers.
Celery, carrot, or green beans would be great for this presentation.  Next time.
  • Corn relish, crab filling, and breading are mixed and ready to assemble and cook at 35 for 20 minutes
I am excited about the relish
  • Sangria has been prepared and is chilling in the refrigerator
I hope I made enough
  • Cup cakes are filled and glazed
Rushed the chocolate a little, but it will still taste great
  • Fruit garnishes cut

I know many of you may think I am crazy for making so many foods for one small event.  I look at it as an opportunity to try some new recipes and experiment with new flavors.  It used to be overwhelming (I love
throwing parties and have been for 25 years), but I now enjoy the process.  Here are a few things I have learned that have made it an enjoyable experience for me.
  1. Things do not need to be perfect.  I assume that your guests are your friends and family and therefore you should take the pressure off yourself.  It is the time you spend together that is important, not whether or not you remembered to let the cheese come to room temperature before serving or forgot to cut up the lemons for iced tea.
  2. Enjoy the process.  A party is not just about the event, but all things leading up to it.  Put your veggies and fresh herbs in colorful bowls, use that wood chopping board you love to look at, and take your time and have fun with it.  
  3. Clean as you go.  This is a biggie.  Everyone loves a clean kitchen and with the amount of time you will no doubt be spending there you want it uncluttered.  Don't let the dishes pile up in the sink and on the counter.  After chopping the veggies for the salad, clean that cutting board an knife and put them away before moving on to the next task.  Trust me, this will keep the stress level down.
  4. Take breaks from the cooking.  If you find yourself needing a change of pace, walk away form the kitchen and put out the dishes, glasses, napkins, and silverware.  It really helps.
  5. Organize your serving pieces.  Plan what food item will go on each plate and what the food will be served with.  This takes away any last minute searching in cabinets and drawers while your company is there.
  6. It's art.  Serving food is about flavor, texture, color, aroma, and should be enjoyed.   It's time to pull out the plates you never use, the napkins you are scared of staining, and the glasses you hate to wash by hand.  You will be glad you did.  
Now that everything is ready to go, I'm going to take a break.  It's going to be a fun evening.

Part 2:  Final Touches and Tips
Part 3:  Ta Da!