I recently turned 30. To celebrate/mourn the occasion, I threw a standard Catherine-style posh cocktail party, with a few modifications over the standard hors d'ouerves and finger foods menu.
For one, I converted the pitcher of cosmos concept from a beverage into a cupcake. I also served meat, now that I'm no longer afraid of cooking it. And finally, I came close to providing an appropriate amount of food for the number of guests (the only thing we had unreasonable amounts of leftovers of were the fruit tartlets and old bay biscuits).
Pictured above, clockwise from the veggie platter:
veggies and onion dip
Stacey's naked pita chips
Asparagus tart (using refrigerated crescent rolls instead of puff pastry)
Maple kettle corn (I'm not pleased with the recipe- I'm not sure if I should give it to you until I've perfected it)
Fennel and melon wrapped in prosciutto (Giada's idea)
Avocado muffins (blocked by the flowers) (and note: you know how avocados always go bad before you eat them? Make this your my-avocados-need-to-get-used-NOW go-to recipe)
Spinach quiches (also blocked by the flowers)
Old bay cheese biscuits (recipe needs work before I share, but it was based on this recipe)
Caramelized onion tart (using cream cheese instead of ricotta)
Tomato tart (again with crescent rolls instead of puff pastry)
Here are the avocado muffins, quiches and old bay biscuits
the onion tart, tomato tart, skewers, and the veggies again,
Not pictured: honey cumin chipotle pork tenderloin and peanut teriyaki chicken skewers (taken off the skewers)(fat free 1/2&1/2 instead of heavy cream, please). Both were cooked later, when I was too busy hostessing to photograph.
The dessert table was in the corner
My famous coconut macaroons (ok, Martha's, but I probably make them more)
Cosmo cupcakes (with 1 change: I used the Magnolia Bakery frosting recipe (the one with the cupcakes scared me by the huge butter:sugar ratio, I was worried it made that greasy frosting I hate) and instead of 1/2cup milk, I used a mix of cranberry and lime juices (about 5T cranberry and 3T lime).
Peach raspberry tartlets (crust was Martha's pate sucree recipe, filling was a bunch of peaches diced, a handful of frozen raspberries, a little flour, a little sugar. I followed Smitten Kitchen's construction here, and froze the tartlets a week before baking about an hour at 400F)
And that was just in the dining room!
In the living room were the cheeses.
I bought (from BJ's):
lemon stilton, Cabot extra sharp cheddar, smoked gouda, iberico (like manchego, delicious) and from Big Y, a small wheel of camembert.
I also served a baguette, some crackers, more spicy nuts, pickled grapes, storebought olive tapenade, homemade olive pistachio tapenade (heavily modified from Anne Burrell, via Smitten Kitchen) and the fabled apricot preserves (delicious with the camembert on a baguette).
The bar was in the kitchen.
Now, minor oopsie on this one- I don't drink beer, only wine, so I wasn't considering what beer we had on hand. I assumed we had some. My husband assumed I was on top of everything (I thought I was). We... had no beer. Like, none. We had sufficient quantities of wine, seltzer, coke and diet coke (which was a feat for us), and the sangria that will go down in family history (2 weeks later, I've made 5 batches of it, that's how popular it is).
Sangria: modified from here. I used the simple syrup left over from the epic candied orange peels (later I used honey). I'd suggest increasing the simple syrup or honey 1.5-2 times over the sugar, especially since I used plain seltzer instead of lemon lime soda (I'd rather have sugar than HFCS).
The best part of the bar was using all the beautiful Simon Pearce pitchers I've bought my husband over the years. He has a real thing for pitchers, but he never used them, and I usually only put flowers in them.
There were 2 items on the table I did not make, both of which were delicious. A made a delicious baked brie (totally rivals mine, hers had the added bonus of not being greasy and messy like mine is), and Bird brought me these adorable and delicious cookies. (I ate the last one on National Wear Lilly Day- is that appropriate or what?)