The Eggers love to entertain! It is a thrill to start loving on our guests in the days if not the weeks before a chance to gather people for a celebration or a get together. Recently we opened 23 East, the new home of Jenni Egger Designs with 3 Open Houses.
By now we have introduced several hundred guests to 23 East and are delighted to share it with many more in the future.
In the Spirit of Giving and Sharing and Appreciating everyone who has been interested, this post is a culmination of some recipes, tips and tricks for somewhat easy and low stress hosting!
We hosted a seven hour open house which encompassed both lunch and dinner food. The planning was key for this one as we wanted a vast mix of light and heavy food choices, some of which included meat and many options for vegetarians.
Once a menu is created, we make a shopping list. I divide my list into three stomping grounds: Costco, Trader Joes and the regular grocery store. I typically do all the shopping in one day (2-3 days ahead of time) with a quick trip for last minute items the day before or morning of the party.
Howard (my husband) handled the drink menu by experimenting and coming up with a signature bourbon drink, creating a menu and visiting our local liquor super store to stock up.
Before the food and drink recipes are shared, I wanted to give some tips on planning a party for 10 or hundreds.
I always start with the details – mapping out where food will be served and in what dishes or containers. Where will the bar be located and how will we set up a mix of “serve yourself” options and bartender mixed cocktails? Ensuring the proper glassware and serving vessels are available. Hiring someone to mix and pour drinks and to keep the bar area tidy and stocked saves so much stress as well as allows you to enjoy the party!
Setting up the buffet to ensure all the serving pieces are accounted for and prepared for use can be done days ahead of the event and will ensure ease in setting up right before your guests arrive.
The day before the party, I defrosted shrimp, roasted the pork tenderloin, assembled the lasagna, boiled and marinated the pasta, mixed the artichoke salad, and prepared all the sauces.
The morning of the party I made my (almost) famous chocolate chip cookies, added the sauce to the shrimp dishes, sliced the pork tenderloin and buns, added all ingredients to the pasta salad, and procured ice for the bar.
Here are the recipes we used to create a satisfying, colorful, flavorful menu for the guests of our “all day” open house to enjoy.
From Once Upon a Chef
From Eating Well
Place garlic and oil in a small skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Cool Sauce/Marinade. Toss with shrimp in a large bowl. Chill until ready to serve.
We served hot and mild cocktail sauce with both shrimp recipes.
Boil Pasta as directed and toss with olive oil after cooking.
When cooled, add Greek Dressing to pasta along with mushrooms, veggies, greek seasoning to taste and feta cheese. Tzatziki can be tossed with pasta if desired, before garnish. Lay Salad greens onto platter and pile pasta salad on top. Before serving drizzle tzatziki and sprinkle with greek seasoning to taste.
For the Trio of Spreads on Charcuterie, I purchased the Spinach Dip and Hummus from Costco. This plus an Artichoke salad, assorted veggies, crackers, nuts and breads made up the charcuterie.
In a large bowl mix:
(Why didn’t I think of this?)
For Dessert, we arranged one homemade and two store bought desserts.
Peppermint Bark, Macarons, and Jenni’s (almost) Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies were mounded for everyone to satisfy their sweet tooth. This year, Jenni gave the gift of her recipe for the cookies to everyone who stopped by and here it is for you!
For the other two open houses, We focused on a Brunch Menu of Chicken Salad on Biscuits and a Make Your own Yogurt Parfait bar for an 8:30 am – 11:30 am timeframe. For the Trades and Vendors Evening open house we hired a food truck and when they were unfortunately in an accident on the way, we shifted to Joella’s Hot Chicken, which provided a wonderful meal on the fly.
Thank You Joella’s Broad Ripple for pulling a dinner for 40 together last minute!
Have yourself a Happy Holiday Season! Enjoy friends and family and your place.