Friday, August 31, 2012

Party Time. (Excellent.)

I don't cook just for myself, of course; in fact, I prefer to cook for other people.  Preferably large groups of other people.  Here's some of my favorite party food from the last couple years:

Writers' Summer Luncheon
I used to work as an assistant to an author; when she threw a thank-you / meet-and-greet party for contributors to her latest book, I got to do the catering. Some of the produce came from the author's own lovely garden, the rest from my local farmers' market.

Crostini of smoked duck with spiced apricot chutney, green goddess dip, homemade tapenade, crackers and crudités.

Sandwiches. Left: Roast beef with arugula, blue cheese, caramelized shallots. Right: roasted veggies (eggplant, bell peppers, zucchini), basil pesto, goat cheese.

Orange chiffon cupcakes with dark chocolate ganache and golden raspberries.

I also collaborated with two friends to throw a very elegant baby shower.  (The baby will be a year old in October, which tells you how long overdue this post is!)

Cheeses platter

Seckel pears poached in moscato and spices.

Our gracious hostess, C. opened up her beautiful Craftsman-style home and provided the gorgeous vintage linens and table settings. (Check out the amazing punch bowl and her adorable apron!)

Salumi plate. I made the pâté and pickled red onions and C. made the smoked duck breast; the rest came from my friend Rachael, chef/owner at The Compass Star.

Dark chocolate truffles -- pure decadence!

Two kinds of cookies: almond crisps; shortbread with currants and candied citrus peel.

Mini fruit tarts (vanilla pastry cream, berries). No need to get a fancy set of teeny tart pans for this; I used a mini muffin tin to shape the crusts.

A tower of decadence!   

And finally, I got to throw quite a lovely party for myself to celebrate a milestone birthday in early 2012.  My Fabulous Sicilian Landlady let me have the shindig in her gorgeous house because my studio is so teeny, and my glamorous friend Joyce created some spectacular cocktails and loaned me the beautiful marble serving platters you see in the photos.

the grand spread of hors d'oeuvres
Yes, I did decorate my cake with a tiara and pink polka dots. (Red velvet with cream cheese and mascarpone icing.)

My hair almost matched the cake.