Wow, what a party: two solid days of prep, massive quantities of food and 14 guests! Despite the daunting menu and to-do list, I was actually the most relaxed I have ever been in preparation for a party. Part of this was having the wonderful Sous-Chef Sarah all Sunday afternoon, the other part was knowing that everyone coming is a friend and worst case everyone pitches in – or we order a pizza!
When it came to this year’s Superbowl I decided to root for the Packers. Honestly, like many, it was more of an anti-Roethlisberger decision – but let’s put those politics aside. I did keep Packers colors in mind when picking out paper products and decorations. With a party of 14 people I decided to do all disposable plates, bowls, utensils and tablecloth. I am very thankful for this decision because clean up really was a breeze. Along with a green table cloth and green cups, I also picked out these yellow Gerber daisies with green filler to continue the Packers theme!
I did make light of my non-sports disposition in the invite for the party – really this was a party celebrating football food more than celebrating the Nation Football League Championships! So, here’s the Menu, in all it’s glory:
- Xochitl Tortilla Chips
- Fresh Direct Guacamole
- Whole Foods Peach & Mango Salsa
- Sabra Hummus with Tahini
- Homemade White Bean & Pesto Dip:
- 1 Can Cannellini Beans
- 1/4 cup prepared pesto (Whole Foods Brand)
- 2 TBS Olive Oil (estimated)
- Blend in a food processor until smooth, adding olive oil as necessary
- Season with S&P to taste
- Stacy’s Whole Wheat Pita Chips
- Martha’s Hot Artichoke Dip
- Sliced Yellow and Red Peppers as Crudites
Hot hors d’oeuvres:
- Mushrooms stuffed with Spinach, Panko and Parmesan
- Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
- Coconut Shrimp:
- 1 lb Defrosted Frozen Shrimp
- 1/2 Cup Flour
- 2 Eggs, beaten + 1 TBS Water
- 3/4 Cup Panko combined with 3/4 cup sweetened coconut
- Sweet Chili Sauce for Dipping
- Bread shrimp in a 3-Step (3-bowl) process:
- Dredge with Flour
- Dip in egg wash
- Coat with Panko/Coconut mixture
- Bake at 450 for 10 minutes (flip at 5 mins) on a cookie sheet prepared with tin-foil and sprayed with Pam or other spray alternative
- Turkey Chili with 3 Beans (the secret is Penzeys Chili 3000 spice instead of basic Chili Powder) served with:
- Chopped fresh tomatoes
- Chopped iceburg lettuce
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Fritos (100% necessary)!
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork served on Whole Wheat buns with Coleslaw
- Arugula, Barley, Mushroom and Sausage Salad (with scallion, lemon and cherry tomatoes)
Sweet Treats – both made from scratch:
- Pumpkin Bread
- Bourbon, Pecan Caramel Corn
Although the food was a resounding success overall, the big winners were the Bourbon Chicken Wings and Caramel Corn. The wings has just the right amount of kick – although I should warn you, if you try to taste the marinade the night before it is so spicy it’s basically inedible (I was coughing and wheezing at a single taste!). Don’t worry, the brown sugar and bourbon will eventually mellow the hot pepper sauce.
Both my Caramel Corn and Pumpkin Bread have affectionately been called “crack” (because they are so addicting) by my friends for as long as I’ve been making them. My favorite comment of the night came from my friend Cate who, in reference to both asked, “Lili, where do you get your crack, because it’s really good!” To toot my own horn the caramel corn really is that good – 14 people ate 18 of the 20 cups I made. To give it it’s due respect, I’ll do another popcorn specific post later this week.
Overall, I find nothing more satisfying than a successful party – what an accomplishment! Although I was flat out exhausted for the past two days as a result, it was all worth it for the incredible happiness I felt as I went to bed Sunday night. Can’t wait for the next one!
All photos courtesy of Mike Jones Photo – Thanks Mike!