the date that got away

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress

Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on November 5, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten

it’s one thing to misplace your reading glasses, completely another to space on the fact that you’re hosting a party.

That happened to me last week. Months ago, my daughter at Northwestern business school thought it would be fun to invite some of her classmates over for a cocktail party. At the time I thought so too.

Then life happened. Schedules got rescheduled and things got lost in the shuffle. One of those being that I was to have twenty people over while flying back late the night before after being gone for over two weeks.

I thought of canceling then thought the better of it. The day I realized my mistake, and the day before I was to leave town, I went to Binny’s and got a mixed case of wine, some ginger beer for Moscow mules, and a selection of beers.

I then popped into Paulina Meat Market for some of their famous German hot dogs and pulled out some puff pastry and made a batch of pigs in a blanket to stow in the freezer. I then did something I rarely do; I ordered a cheese tray from Pastoral Wine and Cheese. Their Mediterranean Treasures tray would not disappoint.

The morning of the party, and the morning after my return flight, I put the wine and beer in the refrigerator. 

I set up the bar for the Moscow Mules.

And for the wine.

While getting the limes for the Moscow Mules at the market I picked up some radishes, snap peas, peppers and cucumbers to green up the buffet. Then looking at that crudité I realized I missed my cousin, and because I had time, I got the ingredients for our grandmother’s Roquefort dip- for some reason it always makes me think of my him.

I whipped up a little honey mustard crème fraiche to serve with the pigs in the blanket.

Just mix half cup of crème fraiche with two to four tablespoons of honey mustard. Place it in the serving dish, cover and refrigerate.

On my way back from picking up the cheese tray at Pastoral Cheese I ran into Fahlstrom’s Seafood for some of their famous trout dip to spread on saltine crackers and top with a few grinds of fresh pepper. (You might think fancier crackers would be better but they’re really not).

Right before the guests arrived, I heated up the pigs in a blanket on a parchment lined baking sheet.

I set out the crudité and Roquefort dip.

And the cheese tray.

Assembled the trout dip.

Put out the pigs in a blanket with the mustard crème fraiche.

Lit the candles.

Poured this cute one a glass of Sancerre while we waited for the bell to ring.

The night was a resounding success. And it reinforced that what’s important is the people you care about and the memories you make. Not some preconceived benchmark of what party planning is supposed to look like. The night, just like this group, proved to be top of its class.

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