Am I Party Ready?
As is the important question posed to me and a bunch of other bloggers, who have been presented by FoodBuzz and Electrolux, the challenge of offering impromptu party tips.
Here's what I came up with...
Tip #1: Feed your guests in a fun, interactive, non-boring way.
The most fun food I've ever had at a party, was a make-your-own-pita-pocket bar. When you're involved in making the food (or assembling it)... it just tastes better!
Appetizer CocktailsI originally just put them into a deep fryer until crisp on the outside. They were delicious, but turned hard after cooling down. I remedied this by dunking them into a tempura batter (rice flour, cold seltzer water, pinch of salt) before frying. They kept a good texture, and stayed white- good for the ice cube theme! Do make sure to use sticky medium or short grain rice.
This is a slightly more elegant D.I.Y. food bar, that can be done with any assortment of glassware that seems appropriate to you, and some cute little shrimp forks (forking cute) that I picked up at World Market.
This can be done with a variety of different ingredients. You can use potatoes, pasta, rice, bread, etc. as the base. I used baby potatoes, and deep fried rice balls (I like to call them "rice cubes"). I had fun with the theme, and served them in my ice cube bucket.
|"Rice Cubes" shaped, frozen, battered, and fried.|
Making these rice cubes is a great way to save and use your leftover rice. My family eats a LOT of rice, and when there's leftovers, I roll them up into balls and stick them in my freezer. Just use and reuse a small square of plastic wrap to shape the balls and place in a single layer into a zip lock freezer bag.
Next, serve with complimentary foods. I made vegan sausage skewers, marinated sauteed tempeh, sauteed mushrooms, peas, and artichokes, caramelized onions, fresh cilantro, and homemade garlic aioli and terriyaki sauce. All of these were easy, flavorful, and quick to make.
Tip #2: (This is the hard one) Keep good stuff in your freezer for unexpected occasions.
|Mini Cheesecakes... make 'em and freeze 'em... then eat 'em later.|
For this particular event, I played around with different things that would be good to keep in my freezer, and froze some things ahead of time to test my theories out. Yeah, it's sort of cheating, but what the hell?
For my Appetizer Cocktails, I used frozen peas, frozen leftover rice (above), frozen artichoke hearts from Trader Joe's, and frozen veggie egg rolls from Costco (yeah, their vegan!). I also made some mini cheesecakes from my previous recipe, and froze/ thawed them. Excellent.
Tip #3: For informal parties, always serve things that taste great at room temperature.
|DJs helping themselves after playing a set on the decks|
|Mark shows them how it's done|
For the Appetizer Bar, I served things that were quick to make, as well as tasty after they cooled down to room temp. Mark showed me how to boil the potatoes, then shocked in ice water. It turns out that frying or roasting them would result in dry potatoes after they cooled down. This way, they stayed creamy and delicious! I also served mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and a little Earth Balance non-hydrogenated margarine (a.k.a. vegan butter), browned sausage skewered with fresh tomatoes, sauteed tempeh that had been marinating in the fridge overnight, and carmelized onions. Most things took only a few minutes in a hot skillet, and stayed tasty throughout the event. Others could be made ahead of time, and stored in the fridge to be brought out later.
Tip #4: Make use of what you got... as well as your brain.
... the right side of your brain, that is. Be creative, and your guests will appreciate it!
|Fruit served in my bundt pan and placed on top of our old turntable that we don't use anymore... but it still turns!|
|You got skills if you can pick up moving fruit!|
Our buddy Butterscotch, putting "rice cubes" in her cocktail
|DJ Scratch Rock, rockin' Cee's Baba Ganoush Sunflower Hummus (above)... YUM!|
|Video DJing... on the ceiling!!!|
So... Are YOU party ready? What clever tips do you have?
If you'd like to visit the Electrolux site, they are giving away some cool appliances right now and donating to charity for all those who participate.