Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Laisser les bons temps rouler!

I love a good party. Who doesn't? Better than attending a party, I love to throw a party. Really, there is nothing I like more than setting the perfect scene for people to mingle and have a good time. If I had one wish it might very well be to have a career as a professional party planner. This summer I did 2 parties with a N'awlins menu and theme. The first was an afternoon baby shower for my sister-in-law inspired by HWTM's "Fete Du Bebe" and the second was a dinner party for friends.

Why two events with the same theme? Maybe it was just because I couldn't stand to put all the feathers away. Maybe it was because I am obsessed with True Blood and the New Orleans, "blue-sy" soundtracks. Maybe it was because the requires a five pound minium order on crawfish and I didn't want to let any of it go to waste. Maybe, I am just insane and there is a third party with the Cajun theme around the corner. :) 

* Shower Decor *
So first of all a recap of the baby shower... My sister-in-law is one of the sweetest people I know. Also, she is going to make the best mother and me for an aunt for the first time (any day now...). When her and my brother got married, Loni *really* wanted a tent. Unfortunately, their wedding day was full of showers. Good luck, right? But, for the shower, we definitely needed a big top. Hung from the tent top were 48 Chinese lanterns in different shades of blue and orange. The tables were done with feather accents, custom zebra tablecloths and orange runners. Blue and orange cocktail monkeys hung from the glasses and customized cards were used for the favors.

* Baby Shower Menu * 
  • Cajun-spiced Popcorn (served in decorative paper cones... of course!)
  • Tangy Cucumber and Grapefruit Salsa with crackers
  • Spicy Shrimp with brown sugar glazed andouille over Cheesy Grits 
  • Mini Crawfish Gratins 
  • Petite Gateau du Sirop 
  • Blue Monkeys (Champagne with Blue Curacao)  
  • Orange and Mint infused Water

* Dinner Party Decor *
Now as I mentioned, the feathers were really, really fun and for the dinner party I wanted to carry more of the feather accents through. Pier One helped me out with that task, because really what girl that lives in a Barbie Dream Home doesn't need peacock placemats? The orange runner was re-used from the shower. Black and white napkins finished the classy-French quarter themed look.
What did I serve at this dinner party? Crawfish Etouffee, of course!

* Crawfish Etouffee Recipe * 

3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery 
2 pounds crawfish meat
1/4 cup flour
2 cups seafood stock
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
Chopped Italian Parsley 

1. Melt butter in large skillet. Add seasonings, onions, green pepper and celery. Sautee until vegetables are translucent. 
2. Add crawfish and cook for 5 minutes. Add stock and flour stirring constantly until it is a thick gravy. 
3. Add tomatoes, tabasco, fresh time and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.   
4. Serve over jasmine rice. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Green is for luck

Tarte and Parcel was recently turned down for a food blog directory. Apparently, if you blog about anything but food, people don't want to read about it. Whatever. I'm not blogging about food tonight.

Tomorrow is a big day for me. One of those days that can send your life in one direction or another - a crossroads, a left or a right.

I don't like "big" choices. I don't like left or right. I like roundabouts. Don't feel comfortable making a turn? Go around another circle one more time. It takes me a while to figure things out. I usually dont understand why people do things. I don't understand why the dog likes to steal socks and underwear. I don't understand why someone who was one of your best friends last year doesn't even include you in party invite anymore. I dont understand why an ice cream company would make rainbow sherbert with lime vs. pineapple. Orange, raspberry and pineapple is the BOMB!

For luck with my big decision, I made a necklace with green chalcedony and copper. Copper can't be wrong - it like a lucky penny!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pizzer: The Ultimate Comfort Food.

I guess I have *writer's block.* I don't really have any cute stories to tell, deep thoughts on life or another such silliness. Thank GOD I don't have *chef's block* however. The past few weeks, I have discovered grilling pizza the the BBQ and have to share with everyone how wonderful it is. (Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm a little late to the party on this one.)

Pizza is a wonderful comfort food. With the right toppings, it is the best combo of sweet and savory. And whether you worry about what shoes go with your new DVF dress, will you ever meet Mr. Right or about the European debt crisis and its effect on the US recovery - face it... we ALL need a little comfort food.

So what do you need to grill pizza?

  • BBQ
  • Pasty Brush with Olive Oil 
  • Pizza Dough  
  • Pizza Toppings 

To get going, heat up your grill to a medium-high temp. You're going to want to grill the dough on the grill over direct heat. To stop the dough from sticking, use your pasty brush to baste the dough and grill with olive oil.

Roll out your dough (make your own or pick up some from Trader Joe's) on a floured surface. Place dough on grill for 2-3 minutes until dough begins to bubble. Flip using a spatula and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.

What's next? Toppings! Here are some of my favorites so far...

1. Shrimp, Pesto, Fresh Tomato, Onion with shaved Parmesan and Pine Nuts. 
Secret: Grill the shrimp with lemon on the BBQ before putting on the pizza to add a citrus zest. Don't forget to toast the pine nuts!

2. Proscuitto, Chevre, Crimini Mushroom, Arugula and Fig Sauce.
Secret: Saute the mushrooms in a large pan beforehad. Use a double boiler to melt fig jam into a sauce. Toss Arugula in lemon juice.

3. Chicken, Spiced Pear, Onion, Gorgonzola and Walnut.  
Secret: Cook chopped pear in 2 tablespoons brown sugar and nutmeg. Don't forget the onion and the walnuts - it helps to balance the sweetness of the pear!