Thursday, March 31, 2011

first of April

No plans for April Fool's Day but to watch my back.  You see, it is common practice in France for schoolchildren to tape a paper fish on someone's back.  When it is discovered, they call out "poisson d'Avril".  It seems that an 'April fish' is a young, naive fish that is easily caught. Here, we play practical jokes and try to get people to believe the ridiculous or to find the impossible.  The prank ends by calling the victim an April Fool.  And on April 1, join me in wishing FloHappy Birthday.  Better yet, check out her blog, Charlotte and Spice where you'll find wonderful recipes such as this 'poisson':

Pan seared Tilapia with a Lemon Butter Sauce
(serves 4)
5 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), cut in pieces
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 lbs Tilapia fillets (depending on their size, about 2 per person)
1 cup of flour
First prepare the sauce:
Saute the garlic in a medium sauce pan with the olive oil, until soft. Add the wine and simmer until reduced, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, simmer to reduce again, about 10 more minutes. Add the lemon zest. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and whisk until melted. Add the lemon juice and set aside. You can keep it warm on the stove with the heat on minimum.
Flour the fish fillets. Heat 1 Tbsp of Olive oil in a non stick pan and saute the fish, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve hot with the sauce and some wild rice.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

mini pie pops

 These little bites are the brainchild of Luxirare.  See them under construction at Pie Pops.  For more fun, check out cake pops at BakerellaAdorable party fare.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Something on a Stick Day

It is, truly...according to says "it's a commonly known fact that food is just better when it's on a stick"  Think fudgesicles, corn dogs, satay, and lollipops.     However, lesser known are Spamsicles,


                                                          and mini pie pops. Let's check those out tomorrow.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner

Pictured above:  table as described earlier and actually used

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner

a place setting...once guests were seated, the blue dish was substituted with the salad plate and the starfish was removed and placed with shells in an organza bag as the favor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner

Yes, there was dinner between the drinks & appetizer and dessert!  Here it is.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ocean Gelee Mousse

In a 2 qt. bowl, pour 3 cups boiling water over 1 (6 oz.) pkg. blue Jello, whisking until dissolved.  I added 8 drops of yellow food coloring to give me my theme color.  Whisk in a scoop at a time of Cool Whip from a 16 oz. container.  Pour into dishes.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.  Makes 8 5 oz. servings

Buzz:  I used different shaped glass dessert dishes.  Stemware showed to the best advantage and a deeper dish allowed for more separation of the gelee & mousse. The whipped cream topping was not totally whipped. Done just before serving, I could not hear my guests over the hand mixer and stopped short and thus a layer, not a dollop, was added to the shallow dishes.  A serendipitous slip!

Ceramic container available in choice of glaze colors from McKrafts 
View McKrafts Ceramics's Gallery

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ocean Bluetini

makes 6+

9 oz. vodka

3oz. blue curacao

18 oz. pineapple juice

2 tsp. powdered sugar (makes froth)

Shake over ice & pour into chilled martini glasses rimmed with white sugar crystals

Pottery Barn small glass canister; base used  as vase and lid used as votive holder.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner Party

6.  Dine and have a good time.  

It's Friday night!

Light candles, pour drinks, eat dinner (admire the new dishes) and above all, enjoy each other.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dinner Party Plan & Timeline, cont'd.

5.  Set table and prepare food

On Thursday, you need only create your tablescape using ideas above and 'pick up' your meal at the On the Go section of the market.  Make substitutions, if necessary, from what's available.  For example, you found sugar snap peas instead of green beans but will still serve them with melted butter & sliced almonds.  Transfer foods to ovenware for heating.

Create dessert and make a pitcher of Ocean Bluetini cocktails. Recipes will follow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner Party Plan & Timeline

4.  Shop for ingredients, decor, and favors

By Wednesday, print out menus and determine what you need.  In this case, you don't have the time after work on Friday to cook dinner so you haven't the need for recipes.  A few finishing touches to store prepared food fills the bill.  Due to time constraints, you chose lobster bisque & salmon fillets.  A small amount (1/4 lb.) of lobster meat will garnish the soup and a glaze (reduce 1/2 c. green pepper jelly, 1/4 c. rice vinegar, 1/4 c. soy sauce to 1/2 cup and spoon over fish;sprinkle on 2 sliced green onions) will dress the salmon.  Crab stuffed mushrooms were chosen for the appetizer.  Order cake, if applicable.

Buy starfish to create place card and function as favor. Party favors (again, ideas have a wide price range) allow for appreciation of your party long after it is over.  4" starfish are available at a local gift shop or party supply store.  Cut a strip of paper 1/2" by 5".  Write guest's name on it or create on computer.  Drape between legs of the starfish.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner Party Plan & Timeline

3. Plan menu and theme requirements
On Tuesday, 6 for dinner confirmed and your theme is 'ocean blue'.  A themed table setting will depend on items you have on hand or are willing to purchase.  A white cloth, your new blue dishes, white napkins, and a scattering of sea glass and shells are all that's required.  Or...add a draped fishnet, clear glasss vases with blue water, glass fish... The setting is as elaborate as your budget allows.  Party ideas have a wide price range.

Your theme should be reinforced as soon as your guests arrive.  A signature cocktail will do the trick as well as a few coordinating accessories.  A Blue Hawaii or version thereof with blue cocktail napkins and a seafood appetizer or an appetizer served on a shell carry on the theme.  Ocean themed food is appropriate.
Shrimp cocktail or lobster bisque
mixed greens salad      rolls/herbed butter
Salmon fillets or seared scallops
Potato gratin    Green beans
Dessert can reinforce the theme  as well.
Easy idea:  Blue jello with gummy fish or madeleines (shell shaped cookies)
Elaborate idea:  Bakery  cake decorated with white chocolate shells and starfish

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blue Dish Dinner Party Plan & Timeline

1.  Determine date, time, and guest list

It's Monday.  This party was born of spontaneity:  no big occasion, informality, short notice;  how about Susan & Mel, Steve & Deirdre and John & Martha on Friday night at 6:30?

2.  Send out invitations

5 days 'til party necessitates phone calls or emails.  Informality calls for invites to close friends who would appreciate your shopping skills or at any rate, you.  If email, use clipart of a blue plate or shell to tie in theme.  Don't forget to ask for RSVP.

So you're going to have a party...

The jumping off point could be a date (May 5-Cinco de Mayo), an occasion (Barbie & Ken's 15th anniversary), a person (Tom's in town and he'd enjoy getting together with Dick & Harry), or an event (Homegoods had a sale on blue plates; you bought 6 since they reminded you of the ocean; have a sea-themed dinner!)

Today we'll celebrate a great shopping trip, that is, the purchase of the marked-down blue dishes.

Dinner Party Plan:
1.  Determine date, time, and guest list.
2.  Send out invitations.
3.  Plan menu and theme requirements.
4.  Shop for ingredients, decor, and favors.
5.  Set table and prepare food.
6.  Dine and have a good time.

Note:  I never said 'cook'.  You can throw a great party with help from the grocery store.


Why party? Why not?

There doesn't have to be a life occasion or achievement to honor.  You can celebrate National Chocolate Pudding Day, the winter/summer solstices, the anniversary of the Eiffel Tower or Elvis' birthday....the list goes on.

Name a person, place or thing and I can design a party around it.  For example, the month of March 2011 offers National Pig Day, Dr. Seuss' birthday, Mardi Gras, Barbie's birthday, the Ides, St. Patrick's Day, First Day of Spring, Greek Independence Day, the anniversary of the invention of Coca- Cola.   Lots of choices.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I love parties!          To go to and to give.  

Most people say that they enjoy attending one but not preparing for one.

I hope that my party ideas will inspire you and that soon you'll be hosting a party.

One hears a lot these days about cocooning - an evocative term for staying at home.  Current economic times call for scaled back budgets.   Eating out less often means eating in more often.   Food provides sustenance for a person's body but sharing food provides nourishment for the whole person.  A dinner party does not have to be elaborate, you'll find.  Throughout the year I will supply ideas for parties:  dinner, tea, luncheon, birthday, theme, cocktail, etc.  Take one, two, or more ideas and PARTY!

Creative ideas create memorable events.