Cocktail Party for 75 - help
So I am having a party for 75 people. Cocktails and heavy hors d'oeuvres. I am hiring people to serve, bartend etc etc. But I love to cook and want to make some itmes too. What would you make? There is no food allergy issues.
I just came up with some new ones for NY's Eve. My favorite was Lobster BLT...cut up brioche in small squares, grill till toasty. Top with pesto mayo, arugula leaf, slice of tomato, chunk of lobster meat, square of crispy bacon...it was so good I want to make a whole sandwich of it! I also made potato nests...I cooked then grated the potato, baked it in mini muffin pans, topped with smoked salmon slivers, a little creme fraiche and chopped chives. To make an even more decadent version, I skipped the creme fraiche but put a fried quail egg on top. Also tomato bruschetta on crostini...I like to spread a little boursin cheese on the toasted crostini before topping with the tomato mixture...adds some flavor and also keeps the tomatoes from falling off! I could go on...
I find that a mix of simple things with more time-intensive things makes for a delightful but reasonable spread. For simple stuff, sliced warm sausages (think lamb sausage, different flavors of chicken sausage, etc) with a variety of dipping sauces (curry and mixed herb are good options) make meat-eaters happy with no real work other than slicing and heating the sausage and mixing the dips. Also, I have done what I call antipasti skewers. Get about 6-inch skewers and spread out in front of you small mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, pickled mushrooms, artichoke hearts, sliced salami, olives, etc. Create assorted skewers by piercing four items, mixed and matched. Sprinkle with a faint amount of salt, perhaps serve with pesto for dipping. People can choose skewers that have what they like (ones without salami are great for vegetarians).
For more time-intensive, a good stuffed mushroom recipe (use your favorite) will double, triple or quadruple well and will reheat well. A good dip - perhaps a caramelized onion dip (just caramelize onions, deglaze with a splash of wine, mixed with cream cheese with a touch of parmesan (or goat cheese), salt and pepper and warmed) - is a nice addition.
The most popular items at my last cocktail party spanned the high-low spectrum: tuna tartare on wonton crisps (i served the tartare in a bowl over ice and the crisps on the side, like a chip and dip) and mini pizzas from pita, tomato sauce mixed with sun-dried tomato tapenade, cheese).
Here are a few recipes I do for such parties. You can make these before hand, freeze them, and then reheat them the night of. The sausage wontons might sound a bit odd, but believe me, they are so tasty, people love them.
This is the Alain Ducasse recipe many of us have been raving about. Make as many as you like, cook them, let them cool, then freeze them. They reheat wonderfully.
Note: I use only milk, not milk and water, lots of salt and pepper and a little extra cheese. Sublime.
CANDY’S SHRIMP REMOLAUDE
This is just wonderful. And very pretty. Can be served both as an appetizer or a salad.
2 lbs peeled, cooked shrimp
11/2 cup olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
4 T chili sauce
1/2 cup Creole mustard (I like to use a mustard that is NOT smooth; one with peppercorns, for instance
)1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green onions
2 bay leaves
Mix all the ingredients, except the shrimp, to create the marinade. Add shrimp and marinate shrimp over night in refrigerator.
Serve with toothpicks in pretty bowl as an appetizer. Be sure to take out of the fridge an hour before to let the marinade ‘unthicken’.
SAUSAGE WON TONS
(If you want to make these ahead of time, freeze them just before the baking stage.)
1 lb sweet italian sausage
1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 4oz. can chopped green chilis
1/2 cup unchuncky salsa (I usually use Pace Medium; be sure to use a chunky version)
Pre-made won ton wrappers
- Remove the sausage from the casing and brown in a large skillet, breaking up into small pieces.
- Drain the fat from the pan and crumble the sausage with a fork even more, if need be
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Place one dollop of the mixture in the middle of a won ton wrap. Dab a bit of oil on each of the four corners of the wrap and bring all four corners to the center and press together to enclose the mixture.
- Repeat for as many servings as you want (This mixture can make anywhere from 30-50 depending on how full you make them) and place them on cookie sheets lined with foil, without them touching.
- Bake at 350 for ten minutes and serve (you can serve them with sour cream for dipping if you like)
Easy one: balls of ripe cantalope wrapped in prosciutto di parma. My favorite one, that I got off of CH and did over the holidays: Home-made crostini topped w/ a thin slice of mebrillo (quince paste), prosciutto di parma, a shave of manchego & a sprinkle of good olive oil and parsley. So unbelieveably good!
I often do sausage stuffed mushrooms from Epicurious too. Everyone always raves about these and I used to serve them when I did caterings. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
Good luck and remember to have fun... don't get bogged down in the kitchen, like I always do! I usually end at the end of the night going in my bedrm and lying down for a few minutes periodically... cuz I work too hard!