The Kendal Catering Company
After the Slide Show, please scroll down for great tips including:
Throwing a simple, but elegant party
Party Themes & Tips
How to Throw a Simple, but ELEGANT, Party
Please note: Although the following is an excerpt from our December Newsletter and is focused on Holiday Parties, the information can be used for ANY party or event! Check back for more great ideas or sign up for our facebook group or newsletter for instant updates.
Here are a few party planning hints to help make your party dazzle WITHOUT the added stress!
•Use place cards to label the food for your guests. For cheeses, tape the place cards to toothpicks and stick directly into the cheese wedge. Nice touches make all the difference
•Set up your food table the day before. Decide where each serving dish will be placed, add corresponding serving utensils, and place a post-it note on each one to remind you what goes where. This is a great time saver!
•Use real dinnerware, crystal and utensils when possible. It makes the statement that your guests are important. It doesn’t take that much time to load the dishwasher and it reduces the amount of trash your party collects.
•If you don’t have enough real dinnerware to serve everyone, start with what you have then replace with clear disposable-wear. Buy purchasing all clear plates, cups and utensils, you can use the leftovers at any event. Instead of 10 plates in 10 different colors stacked in your cabinet, you will have something that matches it all.
•Use real linen, all-white tablecloths. Again, it makes a statement, can be used at all your events and is easily cleaned. Add layers of colored linens for dramatic (or subtle) décor. Make sure they are straight!
•Use clippings from your yard as décor in all areas. Magnolia, nandina with berries and pine are wonderful choices. Use fresh herbs such as rosemary to accent food such as creamy dips and cheese assortments. Store bought flower bouquets come across as cheesy – but taken apart, the single flowers of sunflowers, peonies and other large blooms are magnificent alone. Try placing one bloom in the bathroom on a plate for easy, classy décor. Using real décor also cuts down in the amount of decorations you need to store every year.
•If children are to be involved, have a special area just for them. They should have their own food table with special treats and an area full of activities to keep them busy. Try setting up a table where they can create their own gum-drop trees from Styrofoam cones.
•At the coffee station, use sugar cubes instead of regular sugar. You’ll be amazed how many people notice! Also offer Splenda, Sweet & Low and individual creamers as an added touch. All the leftovers can be saved for another party.
•Expand beyond the usual holiday balls in a bowl - Simple things like cranberries add color and create wonderful, simple displays.
•Take store bought foods and dips out of the container and put into nicer bowls and trays. It’s all about the PRESENTATION. Use grandma’s china – she did!
•Designate a “dirty dish” area. If guests can see where to place their dishes they are more likely to put them there than leave them laying around your home. Set up a bowl with warm soapy water for utensils and a trash can designated for trash/food. While working the room, casually pick up dishes and cups left laying around. This will cut down the time spent cleaning up later. NEVER load the dishwasher while you still have guests.
•Designate an area for coats and handbags.
•Simmer cinnamon sticks and whole cloves on the stove at the beginning – it will create a warm atmosphere.
PARTY THEMES AND IDEAS
•Create a poster or cork board with pictures of your guests from throughout the years. Ask guests to bring their own pictures to add and swap out. Your guests will love (and laugh) at pictures of themselves and others. To expand on this idea – try it with your neighbors. Many times neighbors do not exchange the many pictures they take throughout the year of each other’s children. It’s a great way to collect and exchange these photos.
•Have Santa make a surprise visit at your adult parties too. Guests can give Santa a wish list and have their photos taken. Great way to start the laughs – and maybe get what you really want this year!
•Arrange for the neighborhood kids or another group to stop by and Christmas carol for your guests. OR, have a Christmas Caroling party. When I was a child, we would meet at someone’s home and take a hayride to people’s homes to carol. Every third or fourth house we would go in for hot chocolate and treats before going on to the next house. After the last house, we would go back and the adults would socialize with Hot Rum while we decorated the tree. How I loved it!
•Have a Christmas Card Making or Baked-Good Baking Party – Gather your friends for pot-luck dinner while you all sign and address your Holiday cards or bake and package your baked gifts.
•For “Christmas in July” try the following: Place the lid of a large Rubbermaid tote on the center of your food table. Cover it with a tablecloth. Fill the lid with play sand. Add Barbies in swim suits, shells, and other summer items for décor. Suggest Hawaiian shirts, serve margaritas, mini BBQ sandwiches and homemade ice cream. Play Jimmy Buffet music and have everyone do the “limbo!”
•Create “stations” instead of a food table. Banana split bars, soup stations and taco bars are great easy to fix tables.
SIMPLE HOLIDAY DECOR IDEAS
Keep it natural and use what you have!
Remember, sometimes less is more!
Simple Holiday Front Door
Use a single bow, garland sprig and strand of berries
Front Door Detail
Christmas Decor -Three grapevine trees, real magnolia branch
and strand of berries
Halloween Front Door
Dead Limbs and painted Styrofoam
Halloween Party Decor
More dea branch covered with fake webs
Use signs to add creative names to your food
Spray paint the ends of printed signs, tape to cardboard -
Simple (but Elegant!) Brunch
The holidays are a wonderful time to share with your friends.
Instead of a heavy meal, invite friends over for a mid-morning brunch. The following menu is simple but can be elegant with a few added touches. With a brunch your guests can relax and socialize and still have a full day to run those last minute Holiday errands....
Simple Elegant Brunch
For 10-12 Guests
Hot Russian Tea
Served with Capers, Red Onions and Lagniappe
Maries' Cheese ball
Served with Artisan Crackers
Spicy Tomato Grits
Thick Cut Bacon and Sausage Patties
Sautéed Spinach with Onions and Garlic
Lemon Glazed Scones
The 10 days to 1 Week Before:
Make a guest list for 5 to 6 couples – what ever your table will comfortably accommodate. For a simple last minute brunch, no need to mail invites. Call, but do not email, your guests.
Look through your kitchen to see what items you have on hand and make a list of what you will need (use LIST below for recipe items.)
Check all dinnerware, crystal and utensils and wash everything that needs it. Use real dinnerware, not disposable for small intimate gatherings – it makes your guests feel important.
Polish any silver you plan to use
Two Days Before:
Survey your front walk and front door, use simple decorations
Iron your linen tablecloth and go ahead and place it on the table.
Set your table with correct place settings, add place cards for an added touch
Set up the food table – See HINT #2, chose what serving dishes and utensils you will need, place on table and label with a post-it note
HINT #1: When setting up the food table, go ahead and place the serving dish and serving utensil needed for each item on the table. Using a note card, label each piece so you know where everything will go. This will allow an early guest to help place food on the table while you are doing last minute things in the kitchen.
HINT #2 - Never deep clean your home before a party. The only time your guests will be alone to take note of your housekeeping is in the guest bathroom. Be sure to deep clean here, but the rest of the house should just get a light cleaning.
Go to the grocery store. (See Shopping List Below)
The Day Before:
Follow the Prep list below:
Slice the oranges into circles, cover and refrigerate
Chop Red Onion into fine pieces, place is small bowl. Cover – refrigerate
Put capers on a bowl that matches the red onion bowl, cover and refridge
Mix 4oz. Cream cheese with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic powder
Make the cheese ball - see recipe
Prep the grits, but do not bake yet
Bake the Scones - see recipe
Setup the coffee and tea station - Get the coffee pot ready, set out sugar, stirrers, and cups
Place a carafe for the tea
Chill the champagne
The Morning of:
HINT: If your brunch is set to start at 10:30, go ahead and shower first thing in the morning. Put on work clothes until 9:30, then change. If your party is a late brunch, wait until 1 ½ hour before starting time to shower – you’ll feel refreshed. You need to be dressed 1 hour before start time to ensure you have time to do all last minute details w/o worrying about finishing your makeup!
Make the Russian Tea – See Recipe – When finished, place in carafe
Bake the Grits – once done, leave in warm oven until time
Set out cheese ball so that it can come to room temp.
Place crackers on appropriate tray by the cheese ball
Set out capers, red onion and cream cheese dip
Place additional crackers near the salmon tray
Sautee the onions and garlic for the spinach – reserve for last minute
Bake the bacon IN THE OVEN – Line the pan with parchment paper, preferably on a rack. Be sure to use a pan that has sides to catch the grease.
Cook the Sausage – keep in warm oven until time
Start the coffee
Place Salmon on appropriate tray. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary
Take grits, sausage and bacon out of the oven and place on table
Pour the lemon glaze on cold scones, and then warm the scones in the microwave
Put the grapes around the cheese ball and salmon for garnishes
Sautee the spinach with the pre-cooked onions and garlic, drain on a paper-towel and add to table.
Double check that everything is out on the table
Open the front door if you have a storm/screen door
Last check to make sure the bathroom is freshened
Take a last minute look around, put on some lipstick, make yourself a mimosa and enjoy!
1 bottle Brut Champagne or sparkling white wine
1/2 gallon fresh squeezed orange juice, strained
In a large pitcher, mix the Champagne with the orange juice. Stir thoroughly. Garnish with fruit slices or sweet cherries.
2 cups orange-flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
I Use Frozen OJ concentrate when I can't find the Tang
2 cups white sugar
12 COLD BREW Tea Bags
3 sticks Cinnamon
10-12 Whole Cloves
Cheesecloth and String
In a pitcher, mix the Tang, or OJ, with water per container directions. Pour into a large pot. In the same pitcher, put 8 tea bags in to seep with 1 quart water, then add to pot. In the large pot, heat the OJ (or Tang) and tea - add sugar and stir until dissolved. Wrap the cinnamon sticks and cloves in the cheesecloth, tie with the string and place in the pot. The longer the spices stay in the pot, the stronger the flavor. After apx. 30 minutes on LOW heat, taste test the tea. Add sugar or more tea/OJ as needed. Serve hot.
MARIE’S CHEESE BALL
Cream Cheese 3 – 8oz. pkg. (room temp.)
Onion, Chopped 2 C. (1 Lg)
Worcestershire 3 Tbsp.
Accent 3 Tbsp.
Sandwich Beef, Chopped 4 Pkg. (Best if chopped in food processor)
Mix all ingredients together, using only 3 of the 4 packages of meat. Shape into ball and use the reserved meat to cover the outside.
Served best with Tollhouse or Ritz Crackers
Lagniappe (for Smoked Salmon)
4 oz. cream cheese
Lady & Sons Seasoning - add to taste (see Recipe below)
Lady & Sons Seasoning
1 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Kendal's Secret Lemon Glazed Scones
You would not believe how many people BEG for this recipe - lucky for me, there' nothing to it!
One box of Duncan Hines Blueberry Muffin Mix
One Box of Duncan Hines Poppy Seed Muffin Mix
Bake the blueberry muffins, as directed, LEAVING OUT THE BLUEBERRIES, and use mini muffins cups
Use the Lemon Glaze out of the Poppy Muffin Box on top of the mini scones.
That's it! I came up with this recipe after I bought the Poppy Seed mix one time and forgot to put on the glaze. The next time I made scones and needed a glaze, I remembered the left-over glaze and used it. It was a hit and nothing I make compares!
Spicy Tomato Grits
2 cups water
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking grits
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup diced green onions
4 ounces processed cheddar cheese, cubed (suggested: Velveeta)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies (suggested: Ro-Tel)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan, bring the water and milk to a boil. Add the salt and slowly add the grits and return to a boil, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce the heat, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. While stirring the grits add the 1/2 cup of butter and stir until butter is melted. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the grits are thick and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside. Using a skillet, saute the onions in the remaining tablespoon of butter for 1 minute. Add the processed cheese, garlic powder, 1 1/2 cups cheddar, and onions to grits, and stir until the cheese is melted. Add the tomatoes and mix well. Pour the grits into a greased 8 by 11 by 2-inch casserole and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over the casserole for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Garlic Sauteed Spinach
1 1/2 pounds baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sea or kosher salt, optional Rinse the spinach well in cold water to make sure it's very clean. Spin it dry in a salad spinner, leaving just a little water clinging to the leaves. In a very large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and saute the garlic over medium heat for about 1 minute, but not until it's browned. Add all the spinach, the salt, and pepper to the pot, toss it with the garlic and oil, cover the pot, and cook it for 2 minutes. Uncover the pot, turn the heat on high, and cook the spinach for another minute, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the spinach is wilted. Using a slotted spoon, lift the spinach to a serving bowl and top with the butter, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of sea or kosher salt. Serve hot.
PRINT OUT AND TAKE WITH YOU!
Fruit & Produce Section
Orange Slices – Three Oranges, sliced into circles
1 Lemon - or Lemon Juice
Grapes – Several Large bunches
Red Onion – One Medium, finely chopped
Onion – One large onion finely chopped
One large bag fresh spinach (apx. 2#)
Fresh Garlic – 6 cloves finely chopped, but not minced
Baking Goods Isle
Sugar - 4 Cups
Cinnamon Sticks – 3
Whole Cloves – 10-12 pieces
Lady & Sons Seasoning – see recipe
Accent – 3 Tbsp.
Worcestershire – 3 Tbsp.
Cheesecloth – for Tea
Grits – 1 cup QUICK-Cooking, but not instant
Blueberry muffin mix – Do not add the berries!
Poppy Seed muffin mix – Do not make the muffins, just need the glaze
Mini Muffin Cups
Meat & Seafood
Beef Slices – See Recipe Notes
Bacon – One Package THICK CUT
Sausage – Two packages of 8 patties
Smoked Salmon – One large pre-packaged SMOKED
Dairy & Refrigerated Section
Cream Cheese – 4 oz. for the salmon plus 3 8pz. Bars for cheese ball
Eggs – 2, slightly beaten
Milk – 1 ¼ Cup
Velveeta – 6 oz.
Cheddar – 2 ½ Cup, shredded
Orange Juice – 2-64oz. Juice plus one Frozen OJ
Capers – One small Jar
Rotel – 1 Can
Crackers – 1 large box of assorted crackers plus one box Tollhouse
Coffee & Tea Isle
Coffee – Foldgers Classic Roast or Blue Mountain
Tea – 1 Box of Regular Tea Bags
Champagne - 2 bottles