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The Party Timeline

As I say to guests a lot, in jest, “People, this didn’t just happen!.”

When we are throwing parties for 40 people or more we plan the menu so there is little work to do when all the guests roll in. Here is the menu we planned for an engagement party for friends who will be married in a few months.

If the houseterns are away or on spring break, we put our guests to work.
  • Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
  • Grilled mini chicken sandwiches
  • Tomato toasts
  • Curry vegetable pasta
  • Lamb Kaftas with home made Tzatziki
  • Brown butter chocolate chip cookies

The first thing to do is write out the list of what you need to make all the treats above. This is what we need for making all of the above, so for the above I mapped out what I needed:

  • Allspice
  • Baby romaine lettuce leaves
  • Bacon
  • Baguettes 
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Bourbon pure vanilla extract 
  • Brandy
  • Broccolini
  • Brown sugar
  • Cavatelli pasta
  • Celery
  • Chicken breasts
  • Chives
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cream cheese
  • Curry powder
  • Dijon mustard
  • Dry white whine
  • Dry yellow mustard
  • Eggs
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Feta cheese
  • Feta cheese at room temperature
  • Flour
  • Goat cheese at room temperature
  • Ground lamb
  • Kosher salt 
  • Lemons
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Milk
  • Milk chocolate chips
  • Mozzarella cheese  
  • Nutmeg
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Pepper
  • Potato Rolls
  • Red onion
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sherry wine vinegar
  • Shrimp
  • Sour cream
  • Sriracha
  • Sugar
  • Tarragon 
  • Yellow and red cherry tomatoes

After the portions are figured out for the food as well as the drinks it is time to map out what you need to get it all done. I like to whip through getting ready for a party and not spread out the work over week so here is the approach:


  • Butcher
  • Booze
  • Farm stand
  • Double check that you have all the kitchen equipment
  • Pick up any rentals or have delivered (never do day of, they often send the wrong order, are late, etc)
  • Flowers so they open up

DAY OF THE BRUNCH (that starts at noon)

  • 5:30 AM, Brown the butter for the cookies and refrigerate
  • 6:00 AM, Be at the supermarket as it opens to get everything you need, this keeps from having to stuff your kitchen if you shop earlier
  • 6:45AM, Arrive at home and start ticking off what you need to do, in order:
    • Marinate chicken after pounding it to be 1/4 inch thick
    • Make the vinaigrette
    • Mix the Kafta meat and ingredients and refrigerate to let flavors come together
    • Roast the shrimp and let cool
    • Toast the baguettes to become crostini
    • Make the tsatziki
    • Whip the cheeses for the crostini spread
    • Prepare the tomato mix
    • Roast the bacon
    • Cut the potatoes rolls
    • Marinate the shrimp in the vinaigrette
    • Make the sriracha marinade
    • Cream then butter and make the cookie dough, then bake in a glass cookie jar, now that is done and self service
    • Soak the kafta skewers in water
    • Cook the pasta and let cook, the dress and wrap so the flavors build
  • 10:00 AM, housterns or in this case bridal party arrive to help set up
    • Set up the bar, buffet area, glasses and all of that
    • Ice the wine
  • 11:30 AM
    • Grille the chicken, cut into the the size of the mini potato bun and place on the bottom of the bun, add bacon and the mozzarella, then you set aside and broil quickly when guest arrive, put on the sriracha brandy mayonnaise and top with the bun and you have a ready made appetizer
    • Assemble the kaftas on the wooden skewers, stack and wrap
    • Assemble the basil tomato toasts
    • Turn music on
  • NOON
    • Have the appetizers out, guests walk into a party that is underway
    • Wait until there is a critical mass and the appetizers are gone and grill the meat, then the flat bread while the meats rests, then just put out the pasta, tzatzki, grilled flat bread, kaftas and its a wrap.

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