Marilyn was so excited with the Christmas decorations she decided that she wanted to have a little holiday soiree. At first it was going to be a small intimate party but it turned into a large gathering. Marilyn decided that she wanted the party to coincide with her church's Christmas program (a couple of weeks before Christmas). She came into the store to talk about the party and wanted to know if we (Mommy or I) knew someone who could/would cater the party. I told her that I could do it and that was that.
She wanted a buffet style dinner with appetizers and desserts for fifty. For the appetizers we decided to go hot and cold…There were crackers, pretzels with gourmet mustards. We also put together a fruit and cheese tray and a veggie and dip tray.
The hot hors d’eourves included mini quiches and seasoned chicken wrapped in phyllo dough. I also made two different cheese balls (delish!), and a Pesto Torta with a decorative poinsettia (basil and sun-dried tomatoes) topper. Recipe follows photos.
Recipe for Pesto Torta
· 1/4 cup pesto (fresh or already prepared, I prefer to make my own, but it's just as good with a good store bought version, I like the one sold at Costco)
· 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato tapenade (again can be homemade or purchased)
· 18 oz flavored soft cheese (garlic and herb is good from Alouette)
· sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves for the top of the torta
Line a shallow bowl (like a small cereal bowl) with plastic wrap and coat with vegetable spray (it makes it easier to release the torta). Arrange the extra sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil leaves in a pattern in the bottom of the bowl. Add half of the soft cheese and smooth to make a flat surface, then add a layer of the sun-dried tomato tapenade and a layer of pesto, then add the remainder of the soft cheese. Let it set up in the refrigerator for a bit (usually until it's about time to set up for the party). Then place the serving plate over the top of the bowl, flip the bowl over and carefully remove the plastic wrap.
Serve with vegetables, crackers, sliced bread, etc.
Marilyn wanted lasagna for the entrée (with a green salad) so I also made an antipasto tray with peppers, tomatoes, olives, mozzarella and salami.
For drinks there was coffee, champagne, bottles of water, and a sherbet punch (2 liters ginger ale, 1 can frozen orange juice, sherbet- your choice, I used rainbow because it’s pretty: just mix orange juice with ginger ale in a punch bowl (or whatever you have on hand) and then add dollops of sherbet just before the party – it creates a beautiful and yummy frothiness)
There were bowls of nuts and Hershey kisses throughout the rooms to nosh on while people chatted and soft Christmas music played in the background. While I prepped and made the meal Mommy was put on dessert duty. As you can see by this table there were a lot of desserts.
There was a rum cake and rum balls, peppermint sugar cookies (my contribution), brownie bites, chocolate chip cookies, and some cookies someone bought and brought with them. We had the table decorated with most of the goodies but we also had a couple of trays sitting about as well.
One reason we made so many desserts was because we wanted people to go home with some, as a goodie bag. When the party began to wind down I had prepared cello bags with some peppermint bark in them and the guest were given the instructions to fill up their bags with some cookies. It was a big hit.
It was a lot of work but I really enjoyed the process from planning to creating to serving to cleaning...it was a blast.