Posted on February 23rd, 2013
I love to host parties at home. The idea of friends getting together to celebrate an occasion, having a games night, theme parties or potluck is always appealing. However, most of the times, I stress out when I try and come to grips with all that needs to get done. Need to cook food from scratch, prepare the drinks, decorate immaculately, make sure the house is in perfect order, music is sorted etc. etc. Quite a few times, I have landed up in trouble, having too much on my plate and almost messing up things in that process. That wasn’t fun! Over the years, I have become better and more organized and the stress levels have gone down for sure, though Sunil has started stressing out on seeing me so calm and that too on the party day! I knew there had to be a better way of doing things. A working formula maybe. So before and after each party, I started making notes of what works and what doesn’t – my 80/20 rule..so here it is – A checklist of top 10 things to remember and do to organize and have a great party.
1. Get Organized: This is the most important one. A little planning really goes a long way. Prepare a master to-do list highlighting every task that must be accomplished, a shopping list that ensures you won’t forget any supplies, and an all-important guest list where you track contact information, dietary restrictions and RSVPs. All hail the mighty EXCEL sheet. Give yourself at least a week’s time to organise everything from the invites, menu, shopping lists, favors, planning ambience etc.
2. Think of a Theme: I love themes as they are more exciting and keep the party energy quotient high. Backyard barbecue, game night get togethers, retro glam, 80′s rewind, mad hatter party, all could turn a simple party to a more festive celebration. Let your guests know in advance, so that they can also join into throwing some ideas and also prepare for it.
So I hope, next time when you host a party, you would be more relaxed and enjoy the evening yourself. This should inspire you to have more parties and eventually you would master the trade. Happy Planning and Happy Celebrating!
For the Fig and Prosciutto Bruschetta
1 Fresh Fig per bruschetta
1-2 slices of best quality Prosciutto
Fresh mint or mini salad leaves
Toasted slice of your favorite bread
Freshly ground black pepper
Brush both sides of the bread with some olive oil and toast them on a grill or toast under the broiler until light golden brown on each side. Tear the figs in half, then drape a piece of prosciutto over each of your hot crostini and squash a piece of fig on top. Finish with mint or salad leaves, and serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil, a drop of balsamic vinegar and some freshly ground black pepper. This is a Jamie inspired recipe.
For the Radish and Cress Bruschetta
Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese
Radishes, sliced thin
Fleur de Sel
Toasted slice of your favorite bread
Spread with garlic and herb goat cheese. Lay radish slices on top and garnish with peppercress. Sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel on top of each Crostini. For toasting the bread, see the Fig and Prosciutto Bruschetta recipe.
For the Strawberry and Cream Cheese Bruschetta
Strawberries sliced or cut in half
Basil or some salad leaves
Assemble the bruschetta by spreading the cream fresh on each toast, then layer the strawberries on one slice of bread. Top with the basil and drizzle with vinegar.
For the Summer Tomato with Reduced Balsamic Bruschetta
1 C. Ricotta cheese
3 T. Chives, diced small
3 T. Basil, chiffonade
3 T. Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1 C. Small heirloom tomatoes cut in half
½ C. Balsamic vinegar
This mixture is enough for 12-14 slices. In a bowl add the ricotta, chives, basil, olive oil and garlic and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and taste for additional seasonings. To reduce the vinegar, add the balsamic vinegar to a small pan and heat over medium high heat. Be sure to watch carefully. You will want it to resemble a syrup consistency. Let cool. If it becomes too stiff, add a bit more balsamic vinegar to loosen it up.
To assemble, add about one tablespoon of the ricotta mixture to the top of the toasted bread slice. Top with about 5 to 6 of the tomato halves. Drizzle with a bit of the reduced balsamic and adorn with basil leaves or chiffonade basil. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and serve.