Wednesday, November 4, 2009

mailbag: a French-inspired party

Hello my dear, sweet Lisa:

I am turning 30 this month...ahem, as you know. I am going to have a party--probably 20 to 30 people at my house--and I wanted to do something FUN, so I have decided to make it French themed. (Quelle suprise!) Beaujolais nouveau comes out soon, so I am going to grab some bottles (if not a case, LOL) and I want to have a signature drink. I will have an assortment of cheeses, maybe a cantaloupe and ham dish, and of course, pastries. Do you have any ideas to add to the mix?

Your friend,

Mme. Paulita

Dear Paulita,

Your party sounds so fun! And how smart to pick a theme around a limited-time-only wine.

It sounds like you already have a good start menu-wise, but here are some ideas based on whether you feel like cooking or shopping. After all, you should only cook a big meal on your birthday if you really feel like it.

If you feel like cooking:

Croque monsieurs (Perfect drinking food!)

How about a sweet or savory galette? Maybe butternut squash and caramelized onion or apple

Maybe some spiced nuts with herbes de provence?

One large quiche or mini quiches

Baked brie in puff pastry

Some fresh vegetables and dips like aioli and tapenade (or artichoke tapenade)

Or, for a more formal meal, how about ratatouille, some grilled sausages, and a big salad?

And for dessert, in my book, nothing is more birthday-worthy, and French-y than a chocolate soufflé cake

If you feel like shopping:
Pick up some pre-made tapenade and serve it with poached, chilled shrimp and crackers.

Serve pâté with cornichons and mustard with baguette slices

Ham and cheese sandwiches on mini croissants

Chocolate truffles (Whole Foods has really good ones)

Maybe something light and refreshing with Lillet, like Lillet au Citron?

Or a French 75?

Or a French martini

Does anyone else have French party food ideas for my friend? Help a mademoiselle out!

[Image from James Beard's Fireside Cookbook]


Joseph D'Antoni said...


Also, if doing a sit down boeuf bourguignon is fairly easy to prepare the day before and just heat up.

Paulita said...

Merci Lisa xox

I look forward to more suggestions..xoxoxox

Daniel said...

This all sound good, but shouldn't it be a Freedom themed party>

Lisa said...

JD'A: How could I have forgotten to list gougères? Clearly, something is wrong with me.

I also failed to include macarons. Store-bought or homemade:

Mme. P: Of course! So glad you asked. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you!

Daniel: Oh, yes, how un-American of me not to mention freedom fries. Or freedom toast.

Joseph D'Antoni said...

and freedom foie gras

Lisa said...

JD'A: Highly appropriate for this! I certainly treasure my freedom to eat foie.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas! I love baked brie - but my daughter and I can polish off a round all by ourselves!

Paulita said...

Lisa..have you ever made macaroons? I'm debating on making a batch.

Also def doing the artichoke tapenade

Lisa said...

Mme P: These are similar, and much easier, I think. You can find almond paste at Whole Foods, or Publix probably has it too. You can also change up the filling if you don't want to do ganache--a little caramel sauce would probably be delish.

Louis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Caroline C. said...

Thanks for the tips! I have always dreamed of having a French themed party on my birthday. I have already talked to a prominent caterers in New York. Hopefully, we could pull it off even with very little budget.


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