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Feb 13, 2011 09:06 PM

House Blessing-Need Menu Help

I'm planning a house blessing on a Sunday afternoon after church. One of the priests from my church will bless the house, and we'll spend the rest of the afternoon eating. I'm guessing probablly about 30 people will show up. At this time I'm thinking I'll prepare a spinach/gruyere strata and vodka-spiked cherry tomatoes (which are a favorite in my parish). The rest of my menu is, shall we say, flexible.

Within this flexibility I'm conscious of having food that will not need a knife, since guests will be juggling plates. Also, since this is after church everything will need to be prepared the night before, with some things (such as the strata) going into the oven right before guests arrive.

Does anyone have any ideas for other items to go with this menu? I'm thinking mainly finger foods. Should I serve a green salad with this meal?

Also, how many bottles of wine should I buy? How many bottles of white wine, how many bottles of red?

Thank you for your input!

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  1. I've heard that two traditional things to bless a new home are bread and salt. (Anyone who brings salt should remember to *tell* the hostess why you've bringing her a container of salt - a friend of mine was scratching her head after her housewarming until she mentioned it and I could clue her in.) You could make some smallish rolls, glazed and salted. Instead of salad, how about small "shots" or tiny cups of soup? They're easier to handle than a salad.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sancan

      Salt and bread are particular to specific traditions -- I've given them as housewarming gifts and they were not very much appreciated in contrast to the platters, glasses and other items.

      If you are baking a strata, I would consider utilizing the oven to prepare other items (compensating time appropriately): Parker House rolls, casseroles, spanakopita, or other phyllo pastries would be well-received. A few heavy apps can round out the selection and be prepared the night prior: empanadas, gougeres or spicy cheese sticks and other pastry that can sit overnight unharmed. Cold platters such as crudites with romesco sauce, homemade hummus or baba ghanouj, deviled eggs with smoked salmon, and a good salume platter should kep everyone happy and munching for hours.

      For wine, you can get six servings out of a bottle. The number of bottles to buy depends on how heavy drinking your guests are. Personally it takes me a couple of days to finish a bottle of wine, but a group of 4 of my friends can go through a bottle in an hour.

      1. re: JungMann

        I don't get six glasses of wine out of a bottle!! More like four! ;p)

    2. I'm not much of a church goer, but I might change my mind if it was a place where vodka-stuffed cherry tomatoes are a parish "favorite."

      1. What do you think of this menu:

        Breakfast Strata wit Spiniach and Gruyere
        Mixed Antipasto Platter
        Vodka-Spiked Cherry Tomatoes with Pepper Salt
        Tiny Twice-Baked Potatoes
        Crusty Bread with butter, possibly other spreads
        Non-alcoholic drink (maybe sparkling cider)
        Lemon Bars

        Do you think I need to have a cheese board? Or some sort of vegan spread with crostini?

        6 Replies
        1. re: m2violin

          I think that sounds really good and balanced...Is there anything green on the table? maybe the crostini could be a sort of pesto or bean spread with herbs--I suppose you could simply nest the tomatoes in romaine leaves, but that is just an aesthetic quibble-it sounds delish!

          This thread caught my eye because I am 'doing' a house blessing (actually a condo) this weekend for a friend. I think she is planning on a sort of dessert tea idea which will be fun, too...hers is Saturday and later in the day.

          1. re: LJS

            I'll probably include some artichoke hearts on the antipasto platter. There will definitely be at least a couple different kinds of olives. Possibly asparagus, if I can find some that look nice. I'll cut the asparagus into pieces to make it easier to handle. I was thinking for the crostini I could have an eggplant dip and/or green goddess dip.

            The dessert tea sounds fun, too. There's a local (non-chain) tea shop about 2 miles from my house that I've been meaning to try. You could have a lot of fun with both desserts and different teas for the guests. Let us know what you decide to serve!

            1. re: m2violin

              Not sure what part of the country you're in, but here in Southern Califormia, pencil thin asparagus have just come into my market, they look beautiful. You can blanch them and wrap with proscuitto, or my fave, Serrano ham slices. Or roast them and sprinkle with fleur de sel and lemon zest, those are delicious at room temp. I also like your idea of a green goddess dip, more festive than hummus or baba ghanoush.

              And if you decide to do soup shots, I've done spicy Thai avocado-cucumber soup, that's chilled and delicious. Also love leek-potato soup, always a favorite.

              PS - i just did a bbq with a great crostini recipe from bon app - roasted garlic and olives with goat cheese. Delicious, easy, make ahead and it was a big hit. In the Jan issue.

              1. re: Phurstluv

                It's nice to see you and your always droolworthy food ideas around these parts again, Phurstluv. I would love to hear more about those Thai soup shooters if you have a chance.

                1. re: mebby

                  Aren't you sweet!! Nice to be missed!!

                  Here's the ingredient list:
                  Two 12 oz. cucumbers – peeled, seeded & chopped
                  2 Haas avocados, coarsely chopped
                  2 tsp Thai green curry paste
                  2 tsp sugar
                  2 tsp finely grated lime zest
                  1 serrano chile, seeded & chopped
                  One 13 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
                  3 tbsp fresh lime juice
                  ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for garnish
                  10 cilantro sprigs, for garnish

                  It's a bon app recipe that I typed for my hard drive ,so I'll have to paraphrase what to do, since the mods always catch me when I'm copying recipes for you guys!!

                  puree the cucumbers until smooth. Add avocados, curry paste, sugar, lime zest & chile. Process until well blended. Add 3 ½ cups of water, the coconut milk and lime juice;process until smooth. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and season with salt. It needs more salt than you think, since it's very cucumber tasting at first. Keep tasting as you add. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 15 min, but I actually made it a day ahead, and the soup gets a little better as the flavors meld. Make sure to stir it well if you do it ahead.

                  toast the coconut over low heat, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 minutes. Let cool. (I didn't use this since I was in FLA, and fresh coconuts not available where my parents live)

                  garnish with the toasted coconut flakes and cilantro sprigs and serve in shot glasses or apertif glasses, it is very pretty.

                  Hope you enjoy it, it's very refreshing and was perfect for a late summer party in August in FLA, where I made it. : ))

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Thank you -- definitely adding that to my summer list!

        2. because of the bread and salt tradition we always make homemade pretzels for housewarmings or blessings. And there are never any left.

          1 Reply
          1. For the blessing, I've been known to draw from the classic 'It's a Wonderful Life' where they bless a house. I line a basket with a cloth napkin and put in a loaf of bread (like French), wine and attractive bottle of salt with a card inscribed with the saying from the movie: "Bread - so that this house may never know hunger; Salt -that life may always have flavour and Wine - that joy and prosperity may reign forever". And then I add a small colourful or flowering plant as well.

            A very quick and easy appetizer that I came across years ago, was to wrap lightly blanched, destringed snow peas around tiny cubes of flavoured havarti (i.e. jalepeno, herb and spice) cheese and spear with a toothpick. Fast to whip up, colourful and refreshing. Has always been a surprise hit and easy for people to manage without forks etc.