Posted by: alphafemme | December 14, 2009

in which I take after my mother

So, for those of you who don’t follow me on twitter, you may not know that mi’lady and I hosted a party at my flat on Friday night. In the spirit of not caring about my job, I took the afternoon off of work to prepare (just finger foods and cookies, not dinner thank god). It’s the first time I ever took the hosting controls for something of this scale—we had about 40 people come, and people, my flat is microscopic—and it was stressful but SO much fun. I wish I had pictures, but sadly my camera ran out of batteries after approximately one dismally out-of-focus photo.

On the menu:

– ricotta, parmesan, scallion & black pepper stuffed cherry tomatoes
– spinach, pine nuts & feta stuffed baked mushrooms
– mozzarella, basil & tomato skewers, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper
– baked pepperjack cheese bites (gluten-free)
– vegan cream cheese, garlic & herb dip
– various assorted crackers
– Acme baguette
– various assorted hummus
– cheese platter

For dessert:

– snowball cookies
– triple chocolate cookies
– gluten-free mint red & green M&M cookies
– friends brought cookies too! candy cane sugar cookies, and peanut butter chocolate chip cookie bars

To drink:

– mulled wine (we ended up using 8 bottles of red wine!)
– hot toddies, choice of whiskey or brandy (used a full handle of each)
– pumpkin pie martinis (which were… meh)
– eggnog martinis (which were yum!)
– folks also contributed spiced beer (forget the brand) and prosecco

So, we had an abundance of delectables. I did the dry pantry grocery shopping earlier in the week, and the produce shopping the day of. The cookies were all done several days ahead of time and packed in airtight containers to keep them fresh. And then midday on the day of, I sat down with all my plans and made a comprehensive list of what-to-do-in-what-order-and-when. So it looked something like this:

Take spinach out of freezer to thaw.
Prepare ricotta filling and put in refrigerator to chill.
Trim and hollow cherry tomatoes.
. . .

Make cream cheese dip.
. . .

Prepare ingredients for hot drinks and set aside.
Get dressed.
Preheat oven to 375F.
. . .

Pop stuffed mushrooms in oven and set timer for 30 mins.
Take stuffed tomatoes and mozzarella skewers out of refrigerator and set out on platter.

There were a lot more directions under each time slot, but that’s just an idea. It was SUCH a good way to plan, because it meant I was left with no ugly surprises or last-minute chaos. I kept pretty much exactly to the schedule. There was a moment of panic around 5:30 when I found out mi’lady wasn’t going to be able to get here until around 7, and she was on playlist duty and still had to put it together so I wouldn’t really be getting any help from her, but that panic subsided when I realized I did, in fact, have it all under control. And she had a legitimate excuse for being held up – it was pissing rain, and she had errands to run (get creme de cacao for the martinis, buy small plates and cups, etc.), so she got a ride from a coworker and was basically at her generous mercy. (Mi’lady also drew a fabulous reindeer for Pin the Red Nose on Rudolf.)

And then the party itself was great fun. We expected to have it go until around midnight and then hit the Mission bars afterward, but some people lingered and we ended up staying in, cleaning up, and dancing to Erykah Badu and then the Nutcracker Suite.

And for about 24 hours I was like “I never want to see the kitchen again” and now it’s Monday evening and I’m at home and I’m all like “hmm, shall I bake some parker rolls? challah? date bread?”



  1. Yes, why don’t you bake all of the above and then send them to me in Boston :)

    your party sounds great, well done! i secretly dance along to the nutcracker suite too…

  2. Ok, I’m totally inviting myself to your next party…

  3. Verrrrry well done! I love the way you planned that out according to time, that’s def. the way to go about it without over-stressing yourself at the last minute.

    Also, yes, I feel the same way every single Monday. The joy of cooking (or baking! but not for me, I can’t bake to save my life) always comes back quickly.

  4. I will be crashing next time. I’m very excited about all the cookies.

    Woo for grown-up planning!

  5. OMG this sounds amazing. I want to come to the next shindig! I’m inviting myself.

  6. Eggnog martinis…I’m intrigued. Please post the recipe!


  7. You are ALL invited next time! No crashing or self-invitations necessary ;)

    Eggnog martinis:
    Kind of blasphemous, actually, if you’re loyal to the original martini, but for lack of a better name…

    Anyway they’re very easy: Mix equal parts vodka, amaretto, and eggnog (substitute bourbon for amaretto if you prefer). Grate fresh cinnamon and nutmeg on top after pouring in a martini glass. Voila!

  8. That whole party sounds amazing: the menu, the preparation, the execution. I’m very impressed, and it all sounds delicious! I do all right with cooking and baking, but that is a full scale operation. So glad it went well.

  9. oh my goodness, this sounds like the holiday party of the year!
    your menu made my mouth water.
    glad it all went smoothly!

    how’d the new dress turn out!?

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