The weather has been incredible and casual parties outside are a treat – especially when we know that the long hot summer is almost upon us! Pick up the phone and invite two to three other couples for a night of eating, dancing and casual fun. You know how popular Dancing with the Stars is, so tell everyone to brush up on their Cha-Cha or jitter-bug. A few days before the party, drop off a hand-delivered invitation with all of the party particulars: Time, date, what to wear (If casual means jeans, then say it). I delivered potted herbs so everyone could plant them in their gardens to use all summer long.
This whole party started with a trip to Big Lots where large bowls, buckets and brightly colored pots were on sale. Everyone could have their own seafood assortment. Pink impatiens and hydrangeas decorated the table that was covered with a hot pink underlay and striped fabric. The napkins were kitchen towels accented with orange hibiscus napkin rings. Then we were off to Big Fisherman for the shrimp, crabs, crawfish, boiled new potatoes and corn. Add a seafood sauce and a decadent dessert, music – and you’ve got it!
Naturally, I went to Ralph Brennan’s new cookbook for a specialty drink, the seafood sauce and the dessert. It’s called Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook; you really must go get it now – it’s in bookstores all over the city. I chose the Planter’s Punch on p.403; the Remoulade Sauce on p.373 and the Chocolate Bread Pudding with two chocolate sauces and Almond Bark on p.280 … wow!
Once everyone has eaten, start the music and have an easy dance contest but be sure to invite someone who knows the basic steps! You can have a practice time and even pass out wigs; it just depends on how fun your guests are. Have a prize for everyone and make up a reason for the victory. This is just the ticket for a
sizzling summer soirée!
An alternative to the hand-delivered invitation is to send one. This invitation, which I got at Betty Hunley Designs, introduces the colors and the decorative theme of the party.
The table is set with brightly colored sheets and an overlay of fabric. Then add the pink impatiens, hydrangea, etc. The fabric is washable.
Centerpiece designed by Bev with Julia Yerkov of the House of JuJu. We’ve added peppers as an accent with gerbera daisies and the Bells of Ireland.
The seafood dinner is served in a colorful plastic bowl for ease of eating and presentation.
For the invitation I chose purple basil, mint and parsley for the plants. This is dwarf purple basil. I tied the flowerpot with a brightly colored ribbon, hot glued a flower to it and added the plant with tissue paper and crinkled paper along with the crawfish note attached.