Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Summer Night's Sugar Coma

 Good Luck

First, I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me for my Bakla-who? entry.  Please continue to vote for me in the Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog competition!!!

So, about the third challenge.  Here's the prompt:

...the next challenge is to hold a party for your friends and family. Whether you're an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative and host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes and exotic flavors. Share your hosting secrets with readers, like how to cook for a crowd, plan a menu, or involve guests in the prep.

Wow... where to even begin.

Dinner Guests 2

Well, let me start off by saying that this is the first "luxury" anything I've ever done or attempted to do let alone a dinner party.  I learned a heck of lot about hosting a party.  

The main thing?  It's hard, man.

Flowers

In reading the challenge the first thing that came to my mind was,  

"I don't cook.  How on earth am I going to throw a dinner party???"  

Since my blog is primarily a dessert blog I asked permission to do a dessert menu and was granted.  Heaven's to Betsy thank goodness!  If I had to cook... I would have dropped out of the competition faster than you could say, "OH, heeeeeeell no!"

Dinner Guests 3

After several days of agonizing over what to put on the menu I knew I had to keep some sort of a theme to help narrow down my options.  It's been insanely hot here in Orange County this past week with 108 degree days to sudden down pours of rain where the sun was shining before, during, and after.  Even though it's officially autumn it sure felt like the dead of summer... in Asia... with slightly less of the humidity. 

Dessert Menu 4

In keeping with the running Summer theme this week I decided to do desserts with fruit.  Feeling ambitious and excited for the challenge, I went with four courses with a small appetizer to start.

Dinner Guests 5

Here's my first tip: PLAN

Plan, PLAN YOUR BUTT OFF.  The more preparation and planning that you can do, the less likely you'll forget a garnish or small details like plates and table cloth (Yes, I really did forget those. In my initial planning, anyway.). 

Since my menu had 5 different items/dishes with several different components in each one I created myself an Excel spreadsheet of the different recipes and ingredients I would need.

Prep List

You (and the rest of mankind) are probably thinking,

"Really?!  A SPREADSHEET??? Is that really necessary??"

No, of course not.  But it sure does help when you're trying to remember what goes with what and what's already been made and "wait.. do I have enough sugar at home??"

I work with a really talented chef who is a restaurant consultant and whenever he prepares dishes for his clients there is always a list of ingredients needed, a binder of recipes, plating specifications, and a production schedule to keep him as organized as possible.  Believe me, it works.

Dinner Guests 8

Whether you're cooking for a small party of 4 or an entire restaurant, you have to know what you have, need to buy, what to prep days before, what to do on the day of, and get your timing down.  And by timing I just mean to get everything done before your guests arrive.  

It's easier said than done, my friends. 

Speaking of timing, here's my second tip: ASK FOR HELP

I did not plan well enough (shocking, I know after looking at my cool and fancy spreadsheet) because on the day of the party... I was scrambling. 

The day of the party I got out of work later than I had anticipated and still had a crazy amount of things to finish up.  As I was running around trying to finish everything I got a series of texts asking if I needed anything.

Texts

I didn't want my guests to do anything.  My goal was for them to have some good food and have a great time.  But I was running on just a few hours of sleep and I needed help.  The friends at the party are some of my favorite people and they came because they wanted to not only eat some free food but also because they care for me.  Chances are, the private, "luxurious", and intimate parties you have at your home will be the same.  So if you forgot ice... or you need an extra hand carrying groceries, your friends will help you.  Don't feel like you have to do everything yourself... Like I did.
Everyone came on time and we started our dessert party.  

Which leads to my last tip: ENJOY THE PARTY WITH YOUR GUESTS

Dinner Guest Collage

This is self explanatory.  I couldn't do much of this myself because I went a bit overboard with the complexity of my desserts.  In the end, the people are there to see you and the other people there.  Sit down, relax and have great conversations.


A Sweet Start 
Coconut Macaroons with Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle
Coconut Macaroons

ACT I
Meyer Lemon Mousse Made with Freshly Squeezed Meyer Lemons
With a Tart Cherry Compote Garnished with Candied Meyer Lemon Zest
Meyer Lemon Shooter

ACT II
Fresh Peach Tart Baked in a Buttery Tart Crust

Topped with Homemade Streusel
Peach Tart

ACT III
Light & Fluffy Orange Chiffon Cake Layered with Vanilla Mousseline
Glazed with a Zesty Orange & Grand Marnier Icing

Orange Cake


GRAND FINALE
Heavenly Raspberry Frozen Soufflé
With a Raspberry Puree & Whipped Cream
 Raspberry Souffle

A Bittersweet Ending
Toasted Graham Cracker Crust with Bittersweet Ganache
And Toasted Marshmallow Fluff
S'Mores
(This one was a impromptu bonus for the chocolate lovers)


Everyone had wonderful things to say and even though it was a lot of desserts in one sitting.. I have a pretty good feeling they left feeling satisfied from all of the sugar.  

Dinner Guests 9

Their faces say it all.

42 comments:

  1. You certainly followed the rules of the challenge but more important you did your research and love the summer dessert theme! Voting now!

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  2. Such a great post! Love that last photo :)

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  3. Holly sugar rush! Great post! Makes me chuckle because the last thing I want to do is make dessert, I am a cook. I hope to see you in the next round.

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  4. Now this is a party I would want to come to!! Everything looks amazing! you've got my vote!

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  5. VOTEDDDDDDD! Good luck! Wish you all the best!

    jen @ www.passion4food.ca

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  6. Fantastic. So creative and funny. I have NO IDEA how you did all this! Will you teach me? :D I have dinner party phobia like you wouldn't believe! Kudos, you've got my vote....Cheers! http://bit.ly/cNNCrR

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  7. Every single dessert looked elegant and fabulous! (VOTE!)

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  8. Love it! Happy to see another sweets-blogger!! got my vote!

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  9. Dessert, dessert and more dessert?! Count me in:)
    You certainly have one of my votes!

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  10. I think I got a cavity reading that... in a good way! Your spread sheet is totally not crazy. I made 5 or 6 lists and charts for our shindig. I think it's crazy NOT to make lists and speadsheets!

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  11. Ahem, spreadsheets, that is.

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  12. Love the post! All of desserts look yummylicious! I voted for you! Good luck!

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  13. Great post! I love your take on the menu, and the setting is really beautiful. Simple and chic. Nicely done. I voted for you!

    Good luck! Fingers crossed that we both make it through to the next round!

    =)

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  14. I love how you made it into a dessert party! Now that's my kind of party! I adore that raspberry souffle! You definitely have my vote!

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  15. Wow, a spreadsheet? We could take some tips from you. You're organized! Love all the sweets. It's never enough. Yum!

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  16. I'm glad you were granted permission to do an all-dessert party, because it looks amazing! My mom always joked that as a kid that I should get hooked up to an intravenous sugar drip, but this is basically the equivalent. Good luck this week, voting for you!

    Lick My Spoon

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  17. a sweet dessert dinner!
    (yes...wow...a spreadsheet??? very organized!!!) > voted.

    (see my entry here: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/3/view/1094)

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  18. "Really?! A SPREADSHEET??? Is that really necessary??"

    I almost spit out my Coke Zero all over my computer.

    Great job and one more vote for you.

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  19. I'm no baker. I'm always fascinated by those that are. Nice job!!

    Lisa.

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  20. Wow!! Thank you all so much for your comments and votes!! Good luck to all of you who are participating in the competition as well! The competition is mighty stiff...

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  21. What a GREAT party! Love that you did a spreadsheet too - it does keep you organized! Best of luck to you in the contest! :)

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  22. Looks great! I love all the photos! Hope we both make it to the next round! :-) You have my vote!

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  23. I found a new love in this blog.

    I'm the antithesis of you. I don't bake. I hate sweets. But strangely, this party has left me drrrroooling and very, very envious of the delightful company and sweet food you've spread out.

    Best of luck!! I hope to see you in the next round! :-)

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  24. gorgeous photos. voted for you! hope we both move forward. :)

    http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/3/view/1080

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  25. That last photo is gold! It's a wonder they weren't all bouncing off the walls. Great idea for a party and well done :) Good luck.

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  26. hahah love this! the expression pictures tells me you all overate because the food well desserts were extra yummy! great looking entrees. I've never attended a dessert party so this looked very interesting. i vote!

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  27. Everything looks awesome! I'm especially impressed by the meyer lemon mousse :) Fabulous party!

    Sues

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  28. Oh my! I love the heavenly frozen raspberry soufflé! Fantastic sweets. Thanks for your sweet words on my blog (=

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  29. You did such a great job executing this special dinner party! Oh my gosh, the menu and the pictures to go along with this post are soooo GOOD!!! You and your guests are very lucky ;) And you are VERY talented. Also, I hear you on the intimate parties that usually your guests are people that actually DO care about you, and are willing to help out :) It's a really comforting thought. This whole post was comforting, and I love the smiles that are all around as well. You've got my vote!

    XO Best of luck!

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  30. This may have been your first attempt at luxury, but it looks like you did a great job! Everything looks delicious... I want to try those chocolate drizzled macaroons!

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  31. Great tips and graet pics! You have my vote :)

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  32. Dessert party. The perfect idea. With every picture I was like, "I LOVE that, no, I love THAT!" And so on and so forth. Wish I could have been there!

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  33. Lovely! A dessert party is actually a really cool idea. Love the sugar coma pic too. :) Got my vote!

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  34. Rocking job!!! It looks liked you had a great time making and eating it! And you did a great job of documenting it (love the spreadsheet)!

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  35. wow so pretty! wish i was at your dessert party! :))

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  36. Congrats Congrats going onto challenge #4!!! Must be exciting for you! Good luck and all the best. Happy Thanksgiving to you! You'll be getting the next vote from me :) Your awesome!

    Have a happy thanksgiving!
    jen @ www.passion4food.ca

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  37. Wow, if I would of known about this earlier you would of gotten my vote, but thankfully you did fine without it :D

    Wish I was there, everything looked amazing! You have some lucky friends :P

    -jenny at www.foodcoma911.com

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