Category Archives: Food & Beverage Pairing

David’s Tips for a Creative and Stress-Fress Summer Party

David’s Tips for a Creative and Stress-Fress Summer Party

My goal as a caterer is for my clients to feel like guests at their own party.  However, you don’t need to hire a professional to throw a great party without undue stress or weeks of preparation.  My top 5 tips for a party that your guests will never forget:

  • Plan your menu around what’s in-season, for best-pricing and freshness.  Buffets (versus plated or tray-passed service) are typically the easiest option – just remember to offer “buffet-friendly” menu items that don’t don’t over-cook or dry-out easily (i.e., if served warm in a chafing dish), or that need a lot of maintenance or re-freshing (i.e., complex hors d’oeuvres).   Bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs are a perfect entree option as they maintain moisture far better than a boneless chicken breast, for example.  Tri-Tip is also an excellent buffet entree choice.
  • “Theme” parties are extra-festive and fun (i.e., Beach BBQ, Southern BBQ, Hawaiian Luau, Mexican Fiesta, etc), and can be weaved through the menu, cocktails, decor, music and attire.   Pair it with something completely unexpected, like a Piñata containing plastic leis for a Hawaiian theme.
  • Embrace foods that you can prepare in advance and that serve well at room temperature, or taste better a day or two after they are prepared.
  • If you want to keep it really casual and simple, and don’t have enough tables or chairs, you can spread quilts on the ground and let everyone gather picnic-style.  Rentals can also be surprisingly inexpensive, and you can save $40-$75 on delivery fees (depending on your delivery distance) by transporting the items yourself.
  • Serve a refreshing, specialty cocktail.  If watermelon is in abundance, try a Watermelon & Mint Cooler (recipe below):

Watermelon & Mint Cooler (make by the pitcher for ease) Ingredients:  12 cups seedless watermelon cubes; 1/2 cup fresh lime juice; 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves; 2/3 cup cachaca, rum or vodka (optional).  Directions: In a blender, working in batches, puree the watermelon, lime juice and mint leaves until smooth.  Transfer the mixture to 2 large pitchers.  Cover and refrigerate until ready for use.  Divide the liquor, if using, between the pitchers.  Top with ice and enjoy.

Cheers!

David

Big Savings with “Loss Leaders”

Big Savings with “Loss Leaders”

Many of my clients and friends often ask questions like “where do I find the best food at the best prices?”, and “how do I shop the most efficiently?” My answer is to look for whatever is fresh and in season, and to plan your meals accordingly (eat like you would on a farm).  The lowest priced items in a grocery store are typically food that is fresh and in season, of which there is an abundance.  (This primarily applies to fruit, vegetables and wild-caught fish).  The highest-priced items are often not in season or at their peak freshness, and are harder to find – hence the hefty price tag.  This is counter-intuitive to most people, who think the most expensive items must be the best.  To attract customers, most grocery stores use the aggressive sales strategy of “Loss Leaders” – products sold at or below cost on the assumption that once you are in the store, you will be stimulated to buy full-priced items as well.   If you shop with the intention of “cherry-picking” the freshest/in-season items, you will not only be eating well, but you will be saving a lot of money.

Cheers!  David

Spoil Mom with Lobster Tails and a great Bubbly!

Spoil Mom with Lobster Tails and a great Bubbly!

When shopping for lobster, compare deals by the ounce (i.e., 3 oz. tail, 5 oz. tail, etc). The best deal I found this week is at Sprouts Market (www.sprouts.com). They are offering Wild Large Lobster Tails (5 oz.) for $5.99 (= $1.20 per oz). In comparison, Albertsons is advertising a 3 oz. lobster tail for $4.99 (= $1.66 per oz).

Here’s a link for 5 easy ways to cook: http://www.wikihow.com/Cook-Lobster-Tails

To pair, I highly suggest Rondel’s Brut Cava for only $7.99. It’s a hidden gem (Wine & Spirits – 90 points) that can be found at your local Total Wine store. (www.totalwine.com)

Cheers!
David