New York, NY
I'm always looking for an excuse to throw a party, and a birthday in that festive week between Christmas and New Years was a perfect one. So, a Friday night cocktail party - easy to pull together and the perfect pick-me-up for those of us who had to be in the office instead of sunning or skiing.
How many guests?
About 18 friends.
How did you set the mood?
Tons of balloons, candles and very, very low lighting.
What was on the menu?
Mini baked ham, using about a third of this recipe
Homemade buttery garlic rolls to make sandwiches
Onion dip with potato chips and veggies
How did you get it done?
I knew I would only have a few hours after work to get the party together, so I chose food that could all be made in advance.
A few days before, I made the frosting and onion dip (it just gets better the longer it sits in the fridge).
The day before, I set up the bar, made the cake, marinated the roast beef, glazed the ham, and made and shaped the rolls. My tiny kitchen was a disaster, but the day of the party, I just needed to stick the food in the oven with barely any cleanup.
The day of the party, I picked up the balloons and ice on the way home from work.
I love to cook, but if you don't, or if you are pressed for time, here's how I would streamline the prep:
While homemade onion dip is delicious, I don't know anyone who doesn't love a classic onion dip packet stirred into sour cream.
Store bought potato rolls would have been great.
Store bought cake.
Any party tricks?
The fire stairwell made the perfect spot for a coat rack!
Air your dirty dish -- did anything go wrong that you hoped people wouldn't notice?
My apartment building happened to be doing construction on my floor the day of the party. For whatever reason, the hallway smelled HORRIBLE! I may have lit some incense in the hallway....
Written by: Sara Ortiz
Photography: Marisa Ortiz