I love planning party menus. Cooking is hard work but planning is relaxing and creative.
For my mom’s 85th birthday, I planned up an eclectic international buffet -- South American style sliced steak, Scandinavian poached salmon, and a Chinese turkey dish for a crowd of 50.
This time, I wanted something a little lighter, perhaps French. I couldn’t get past the logistics of whipping up enough “from scratch” quiches for a crowd, however.
About a month ago, I was sitting in my kitchen flipping thru cookbooks looking for a spark of inspiration when the mosaic letters Brook sent me (see February post) caught my eye. A light bulb went off. I’d make a tea party.
My original menu centered on little finger sandwiches and cream scones, then the list of food grew. The menu continued to change. Every time someone said “but you’ve got to make (fill in the blank),” I added it to the list.
The final menu (see below) is part French, part British, part things I could make ahead and freeze. The little tea sandwiches are now a do-it-yourself affair and there are even platters of sushi.
The delectables will be served in my collection of Polish pottery. I invested in the large serving pieces for my mom's 85th party, knowing we would need them again the following year for my son's graduation bash.APPETIZERS
Baskets of sliced baguettes & crackers
Smoked salmon, trout & mackerel
Tapenade (olive, chick pea & eggplant) spread
Herbs du Provence Spiced olive oil
Assorted olives and cornichons
Deviled Eggs (my "girls" contribution)
French cheese tray
An artistic crudities display
Caesar salad with anchovies on the side
Mixed greens with Fred’s special vinaigrette dressing
Bowls of homemade croutons, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices
Salmon croquettes with roasted red pepper sauce
Boulettes aux boeuf (meatballs) with choice of sauces
French potato salad with haricots vert (green beans)
French potato salad with garlic sausage
Miniature cream scones (a Martha Stewart recipe) with orange marmalade, lemon curd and mixed berry jam
Surprise assortment of cakes (it's a secret! I'll share photos next week)
Fruit bouquets (from Edible Arrangements)
Fresh lemonade, hot & iced Darjeeling and mint teas, wine, and soda