Thursday, December 19, 2013

First catering job :)

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine from work asked me if I ever catered parties. I thought she was just making conversation. "Well, no, except for my brother's rehearsal dinner last year."

"Would you want to?"

She asked me if I would be interested in handling the food for a bachelorette party she was throwing for another coworker. I put the date in my calendar, said I would for sure at least help if not cook everything myself, and promptly put it out of my mind until Thanksgiving was over.

Suddenly Thanksgiving was over, we were swamped with parent-teacher conferences, dance class, and various pre-holiday social engagements, and it was time for the party! Eek!

My hostess friend has absolutely no interest in or knowledge about food/feeding large groups, so she told me that the bride-to-be likes brie, teriyaki wings, and these special chocolate nut goodie bars from a local grocery store. She'd handle picking up the alcohol and nut goodie bars; the rest was up to me. Twenty guests, five o'clock on a Saturday.

I decided we needed another dessert (after all, some silly people don't like chocolate!), which ended up being a good thing because the store only had one small tray of bars. I made mini strawberry swirl cheesecakes, based off of this recipe from Annie's Eats. I replaced the raspberries with strawberries in the puree and baked the cheesecakes in my mini muffin tin in little foil papers. (The minis baked for about 18 minutes.) I was a little disappointed that the cheesecakes sank slightly in the middle after they cooled, but they were still pretty cute and very delicious. Definitely a recipe to make again.

For our "main dishes," I used this recipe from Tracey for crockpot teriyaki chicken wings. I upped the wings to four pounds, but was still surprised by how few there were. I would double the recipe for a large party next time. I didn't get a report on how these turned out, but the crockpot came back empty.

I also made these turkey-spinach-boursin roll up sandwiches. I first made this recipe for a baby shower, and have made them for several road trips. They are delicious and so easy to eat. Apparently they were a hit and completely disappeared.

Because you never want to run out of food, I whipped up an easy cold pasta salad to fill things out: a pound of pasta, eight ounces of fresh mozzarella, a package of halved grape tomatoes, sliced basil, sliced black olives, and a simple vinaigrette.

For the brie, I made a golden raisin compote from Cooking Light. I didn't have time to try it, but one of the party guests said it was so good, she could've licked it out of the bowl. :) I made six baguette using Peter Reinhart's pain a l'ancienne recipe from Artisan Breads Everyday - always a winner.

Finally (although maybe they should've gone first), I made two dips: my favorite red pepper hummus and a black bean hummus (not an attractive color, by the way!). I served the dips with sliced bell peppers, carrot sticks, and pita chips. And I added some grapes because a meal isn't complete without a little fruit.

Hubby drove me to the hotel and was my faithful assistant, helping me set up. Apparently the party was a smashing success; as for us, we went Christmas shopping for the kiddos.

I'd agreed to do this catering job to help out a friend, because it sounded like fun, but mostly, just to see if I could do it...and I did! :)


  1. Congratulations, Abby! It all looks wonderful!

  2. Looks like you did a super job, especially since it was your first catering job. That was very brave of you to step out and try it.