22 July 2010

A Toast To The Hosts: Organize a Drink-Themed Progressive Dinner!

Photo credit: Sebastian Pothe
Introducing our next guest contributor in the Savvy Experts in Entertaining series, author Felicia Coley of The Well-Heeled Society. Sign us up for this dinner party idea!

It may take a village to raise a child, but it only takes a few swanky neighbors to raise a toast to a drink-themed progressive dinner party! 
Photo credit: Gözde Otman 

In keeping with the state of the economy, a progressive dinner is the poshly frugal answer to group entertaining.  Done in the radius of a neighborhood block, condo highrise or apartment building, each host has a minimal monetary obligation.  This list of recipes for five hosts will serve at least eight people, providing the fact that the hosts may involve singles and couples (adjust accordingly for your event).

Once a date and time is confirmed by all neighbors involved, it's a matter of deciding which hosts serves what.  Cheers! 

Host #1- Aperitifs (No LBD Required)

Photo credit The Well-Heeled Society
My review of KARMA single-serve sparkling wines inspired me to create this spin on the progressive dinner party.  

And in keeping with Parisian panache, this host needs only invest in two four-packs of KARMA (no flutes or straws required!) and some quality popcorn, served oh-so chicly in champagne flutes (see photo courtesy of The Well-Heeled Society).  I suggest offering different bowls of freshly-popped popcorn dressed in black truffle oil, cayenne pepper and lemon pepper.

Host #2- Soup & Salad

Create cucumber "shooters" (peeled, cored, seeded and squared off at the bottoms, at least half an inch thick at the base) that double as edible containers filled with cucumber soup or cold soup such as Swan's Summer Soup.

Next, this host serves beds of greens drizzled with the red wine vinaigrette recipe from Chef Extraordinaire Julia Child:

Red Wine Vinaigrette (Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
yields 1 cup
1/2 Tb minced shallot or scallion
1/2 Tb dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tb fresh lemon jce
1/2 Tb wine vinegar
1/3 - 1/2 cup of excellent EVOO
freshly ground pepper

Photo credit eHow 
Host #3 - Memorably Mashable  

Create a memorable Martini Mash Station by making homemade mashed potatoes kept warm in a stainless steel buffet server.  Allow your guests to become artists as they fill martini glasses with the potatoes and this selection of assorted "toppings" served in individual bowls:

- butter
- chives
- sour cream
- bacon bits
- grated cheese

Don't forget the garnishes of celery sticks!

Host #4 - Main Course

This host serves easy, breezy Turkey with Mushroom Sauce. The best part about serving this dish is that as it cooks for hours, the work is being done by the world's best sous chef; the crock pot!

serves ##
1 boneless turkey breasts, halved
2 tablespoons melted margarine
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 jar (4 1/2 0z) sliced mushrooms drained
1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Place turkey, skin side up in slow cooker. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper. Top with mushrooms. Pour wine or broth over all. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Remove turkey and keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices in a saucepan, combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually add cooking juices. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes until thickened. Serve steamed asparagus and a bottle of Pinot Noir with the turkey.

Host #5 - Dessert "Bar"

I would be remissed if I did not offer the ultimate definition of sweet celebrations: champagne cupcakes!
Photo credit Gimme Some Oven
Champagne Cupcakes with Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting Recipe 
(recipe courtesy of Gimme Some Oven)
serves ## 
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup champagne (I highly recommend Piper Heidsieck!!)
6 egg whites

Sweet Champagne Buttercream Frosting
serves ## 
3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons champagne, at room temperature

To Make The Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Prepare a cupcake pan with liners.  (This recipe will yield at least two cupcakes per guest!)

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, and then blend into creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

In another large clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold in remaining egg whites.  Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

To Make The Frosting:
With an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Mix on low until well blended, and then on medium for another two minutes.  Add vanilla and champagne, beating on medium for another minute.
Photo credit BJN
As you can see, you don't need to wait for a holiday or particular occasion to have reason to celebrate.  The fact that you have great neighbors is worthy of holding a drink-themed progressive dinner!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Felicia Coley is author of How to Stylishly Fall From Grace, and editor of one of our favorite blogs, The Well-Heeled Society.

The motto of this savvy hostess? Sometimes life's destiny does not include you being swept off your feet. Sometimes it's just standing in the light of your completeness... wearing fabulous shoes. 

Find Felicia on Twitter @wellheeled.


Unknown said...

We have posted a link on our FB Page www.facebook.com/piperheidsieckus.

Great ideas, great blog,
Happy Week End!!

MySkinConcierge Ava said...

Yum Just when you think that frosting coundn't get any better! Must try this recipe! Find me at www.myskinconcierge.blogspot.com too!

Anonymous said...

Great idea!! I really enjoyed this post! I plan to try this out with my friends and family! :) Thanks for the post!

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