This resembles by book cover PASSION My Journey through Food but this was from our Holiday party in December 30, 2020. We loved having our Holiday Food and Wine Pairing Party, and Christmas Eve when we were living in Minnesota. We looked forward to it all year. This was the first year we didn’t go back home for the Holiday so we decided to pull all of our Christmas stuff out of the garage (first time in 6 years) and have a Holiday Party. We are so happy we did! *See more pictures below.
BEFORE; This shows what the Buffet looks like before when I get it all set up and labeled. I hope you will get some ideas from it. I usually do this days before and sometimes it takes me a week to get it all together. Incorporate whatever decorations you’d like into the Buffet and ones that might strike up conversation or bring memories to people.
I print up the labels on my computer and then select the colors I want and Paste them to another color which has a cardboard back.
BEFORE; This shows the before from another angle. To make a variety of levels use Sturdy Flat Boxes of different sizes, Tupperware, whatever you can find around the house. You can use a variety of linens, and for this one I added Polka-dot Napkins underneath Shear White Material. I have a Bin full of Linens I have collected over the years, and if I’m looking for something new or different I get remnants at Hobby Lobby.
This shows after. I changed my mind and used real plates which I prefer whenever possible. I also have backup food for the buffet ready to go. A tip with the Plates is to use a Smaller Appetizer Plate or Mid Size plate so people don’t take too much at once. This encourages them to come back to the Buffet to try new things.
A lot of the Food in the Buffet is either in Book 1 or planned for an upcoming Book. You can see where I incorporated the Dessert area right into the Main Buffet so it all flows around the Island. I also put out Plates on both sides of the Buffet along with Mini Forks and a few regular sized Forks.
House made Crostini’s (PASSION Cookbook on page 20) Deviled Egg Recipe is planned for a future book.
Homemade French Pate (Pork) served with Cornichons, Whole Grain Mustard and Poupon Mustard served with Crostini’s (Pate will be in upcoming book). It’s nice to add Grapes or Variety of Fruits to fill in the Buffet. Also nice to use a variety of Dishes for contrast. Herbs are also wonderful to add as a Garnish. Flat or Curly Kale is also something Ive used in the past as a bed for food to sit on (I got that tip from Kimmy at Kraemer’s Catering years ago). She was amazing at setting up Buffets.
Just for fun, Marinated Baby Corn, Radishes and Housemade Marinated Artichokes. Little Round Crackers in the background are housemaid Mini Cheddar Crackers. It’s fun to set up your levels and linens, and then start tucking things into pockets to make it look interesting. One guest at the party said “I feel like a kid in a candy store and I just keep coming back for more”! Tip; make sure you have all your Serving utensils, Tons, Pronged Forks, Spoons etc next to each Dish ahead of time.
The Cocktail Shrimp are specially seasoned and in my first book PASSION served alongside housemate Spicy Cocktail Sauce. Variety Olives next to it. Tip; For the Cocktail Shrimp Crush the Ice for the Bowl ahead of time and put it in a Baggie in the Freezer so it’s ready to pull out. I also uses a Dish that has Ice in it for the Cocktail Sauce. It’s a good idea to keep Cold things at the proper Temperature if they are going to sit out for a bit.
Watch for Petite Phyllo Cups with Salmon and Capers in next book. At this party I also passed another Phyllo Cup with Shrimp which will also be in my next book. I also passed Tenderloin Crostini’s with Gruyere Cheese found in my book PASSION on Page 50. I must say they were both a hit!
It’s fun to insert different decor around the buffet to fill in the pockets and add visual contrast. People eat with their eyes so anything you can do to make the entire Buffet look interesting, exciting, and welcoming.
In my next book I will have a Chapter on Cream Cheese Terrines. I know you will love them. Also shown assorted Cured Meats and Variety of Cheeses again as mentioned earlier Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, Fresh Dates and Variety of Peppers add to the Plate. You can also add Fresh Raw Pecans, Walnuts, Dried Cherries or Apricots to the Cheese or Meat Board for Color, Texture and Variety.
Instead of serving Crackers on a Platter or in a Basket consider different vessels and turning them on their sides for visual variety.
I love Candles so added them throughout the Buffet. Make sure to place them where someones arm or hands cannot get burned. You want to put it behind the food. Just be cautious of placement also so linen or decor will not go up in flames. (My friend Kellie the fire chief taught me this)! As she smiles…
Another angle of the Buffet and my friend Paulie (from Minnesota’s) famous Spicy Housemade Asparagus! I like to serve it right from the jar however I did add a red ribbon.
The Sweets Station was a variety of Housemade Cookies and Assorted Chocolates and Toffee. For this type of Buffet I didn’t want big Desserts just things people could easily pick up and eat.
Our Family Christmas Cookie. A dense Sugar Cookie (not to sweet) but with a powdered Sugar Frosting. John and I decorated the Cookies. Kinda messy but people seemed to really like them and they were fun to look at.
Chocolate Covered Blueberries and Champagne Gummy Bear that friends gave me for my Birthday and Little Chocolate Wafer Cookies from Traders Joes. They have the BEST Cookies and Chocolates there.
Housemade Cookies, and then Chocolate Covered Caramels and Toffee from Trader Joes. I also put out a few individual Chocolates for people to grab. I did a Secret Santa too although it was a drawing so not everyone received one. Ahhhh the suspense. I gave away Just Jules in the Kitchen items and John added in some Golf Balls.
This was our Bar Set UP. We love to put it outside and this year John Put up amazing Glass Block with Lights and the Neon Cactus that our Friend Deb and Dave gave us. It was a great talking piece and looked amazing. You can use Shelves or Wood Planks to create levels for the Bar much nicer than just setting things out on one level.
This is what it looks like lit up in the dark. This was the night before the party when John was tasting out the lights.
We have collected real Glassware over the years from IKEA which we prefer for a nice party over plastic. The party worked out nicely because people could be outside where we have several sitting areas and a fire pit or imisde where we also have several nice areas to sit and relax.
I think my eyes are closed in this picture (don’t look to close) but I was thankful my friend Annice got a picture of the buffet before people arrived. I hope you will be inspired by some of these photos, and that you can use some of the ideas at your next party. People ask me all the time if I am working on my next book or when it will be coming out. I had taken a pause but am now working on them again. It’s a lot of computer time so sometimes you need to step away for a bit. I have recipes planned for 3 separate books which will consist of Grilling, Appetizers, Small Plates, Cream Cheese Terrines, Sides and Soups.
Are you looking for gifts for an upcoming Birthday, Wedding Shower, Wedding, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day Celebration? Consider going to my online store and checking out my Full Color Photo, Step-by-Step Cookbook “PASSION My Journey through Food”, Just Jules in the Kitchen Spices, and my new Greeting Card Line. http://www.justjulesinthekitchen.com