A Rainy Party Menu...

We hosted a birthday party at our home recently. And as is expected with any December parties, one way or the other they evolve into holiday parties - there is just so much holiday spirit around!

I have used restaurant catering for every single event of 30-40 people we hosted so far. And after each event I resolved to cater the next one myself. Well, for one reason or another it never materialized.. that is until this one.

The day turned out to be stormy and rainy. When the weather forecast didn't show signs of budging, what best to do than to make use of it --- change the party menu to evolve around the rainy foods and warm, homy aromas! So that's exactly what I did.

We had the wine and the beer and the coke, but the warm drinks which greeted the guests were spiced mulled apple cider (love it!! and so easy to put together) and of-course a large thermos full of ginger chai. We also kept a hot water dispenser and a couple of bagged teas: jasmine, spiced chai from Trader Joe's and lemon orange tea for the green tea lovers.

It was the day of appetizers. All of my appetizers were oven cooked and served hot which meant I ended up spending the first hour of the event in the kitchen warming by the side of the oven, sipping hot cider and chatting up a storm with friends while a steady flow of warm appetizers went in and out of the oven. It was soooo much my happy place :)

(Excuse all the photos - I tried to take them with a phone during the event, often asking a friend to hold eating for a minute! I am a blogger, they understand :) )

I made sweet potato fries - cut sweet potato wedges, drizzle olive oil, salt & pepper - roast at 420F for 15-20 mins, keep checking to ensure they don't burn. And very important that you spread a thin single layer in baking pan and don't crowd them or else they turn soggy.

Second and perhaps the most in demand appetizer was the holiday pesto pinwheels sporting the red and green holiday colors. Recipe upcoming soon.

And caramelized onions with sage mushroom squares - which were my favorite! Love the mushroom sage combo. Picture is a mug shot which does it no justice - just take my word for it.
We also made a couple dozen frozen mini-samosas, just bake and serve on the day.

And none of my parties would be complete without a cheese platter. I can make a perfect meal anyday with just the cheese, crackers, fig butters and wine! This time our cheese platter had a blend of spanish hard cheese (manchego, cabra al vino and ibreco (sp?)), a soft garlic and herb goat cheese served with pumpkin and cranberry crackers and fig olive crackers with soome fig butter on the side.

Main course:
Rain demanded paav bhaji, and lots of it, for which I used my trusty recipe from One Hot Stove.

A pasta salad also has a guaranteed place on my party menus - it's versatile with ingrdients and seasonal flavors; mild to taste and kids generally love it. I added avocados (yes, they go so well in place of cheese in cold salads), sauteed mushrooms, red onions, 3 coolor peppers tomatoes and seasoned with meyer lemons juice and zest - perfect!

I also made a small quantity vegetable Biryani - in hindsight I should have made more of it; this was the first dish completely cleared off the table.

And we did takeout of idli & vada platter from a nearby South Indian restaurant.

Dessert was a banana cake with chocolate filling and vanilla cream cheese frosting -- my next adventure is going to be to try to make the cake on my own.

All in all was a great day - both food and weather wise. It was mostly drizzling throughout party hours and when the weather outside is frightful, chatting with friends over warm foods and a cozy fire is truly delightful :)


Nupur said…
Oh gosh- everything looks SO good! Feeding 30-40 people is no joke but you pulled it off in style.

I'm so glad you like the pav bhaji recipe.
PJ said…
That pav-bhaji has become a staple at our home - thanks for sharing that one (and numerous others!)