Sunday, May 29, 2011

Foodbuzz 24x24: A Trashy to Classy Cocktail Party


We've all been to and hosted countless parties, potlucks, and family reunions that are full of what some may consider to be "trashy" food.  You know, dishes that are full of processed ingredients and shortcuts, the ones that we all secretly love.  However, you'd never find this food at a fancy country club or cocktail party.  So I thought it would be fun to reinvent some of these dishes into upscale cocktail fare.

Two friends of mine planned to celebrate their birthdays this weekend, so when I was chosen to participate in Foodbuzz's 24x24 blogging event, I offered to throw their party for them.  They graciously accepted, so I set out to plan the menu!


The whole party was actually inspired by these strawberry wine coolers.  I first made these last spring, and I enjoyed variations all summer long.  Every time I made them, I kind of laughed at myself for drinking wine coolers, but then one day the idea came to me to take other dishes that food snobs may turn their nose up to and class it up into fancy party food.  Even though I didn't get to enjoy a wine cooler this time, everyone else seemed to enjoy them.

We also provided an assortment of craft beers, as well as more wine and champagne.  There were a few other pregnant women in attendance, so I mixed up a batch of sparkling peach lemonade for us to enjoy in champagne flutes.

For the food, I just want to clarify that I'm not making fun of the inspiration dishes or looking down on it; I just thought it would be fun to up the ante and find a new way to serve these classic and trashy-good dishes.

The first thing that came to mind for me were pigs in blankets.  They are pretty much a staple at all tailgates, birthday parties, and potlucks, so I knew I wanted to find another way to serve them.  Lamb sausage in puff pastry served with Dijon mustard definitely took these from low-brow to high class.


If they're served at a party, I'm also guilty of enjoying cocktail weinies.  You know, the lil' smokies that are cooked with grape jelly and chili sauce?  To elevate this dish, I grilled pork tenderloin and glazed it with a blackberry-pinot noir sauce.  Extra glaze was served on the side for dipping, and I served each piece with a fresh blackberry.

Perhaps the most infamous of party food is velveeta and sausage dip.  I turned it into a brie, crab, and champagne fondue, and served it with blanched asparagus spears and a fresh baguette.  I could have eaten this fondue with a spoon, it was so good.

Among my group of friends it has become somewhat of a running joke that I don't like onion dip.  Everyone else always devours it, but onion soup mix + sour cream just doesn't really do it for me.  However, I can get behind caramelized onion dip served on homemade potato chips.  Joey and I had to stop ourselves from eating all of this before our guests arrived.  And since the first Vidalia onions of the year are starting to show up in the grocery stores, this dip was especially wonderful.


If you ask anyone on the street what they think of when they hear the term "trashy food," I'd bet that 90% would immediately say spam.  To be honest, I don't think I've ever actually had it, but that's fine with me.  I originally thought to make a pate to replace the infamous mystery meat, but I ended up making wild mushroom pate instead.  I figured it would be more of a crowd-pleaser, and I wanted to include another vegetable anyway.  Full of wild mushrooms and drizzled with a little truffle oil, this pate would certainly be well-received at any upscale event.


Even though it had no trashy inspiration, I also served a cheese platter.  I love putting these together, and this might have been my favorite one yet:  Blueberry-vanilla goat cheese, Rosemary Asiago, Aged Gouda, plus crackers, salami, assorted olives, and grapes.  This was pretty much destroyed by the end of the night.


The first dessert that came to mind for me was strawberry jello salad.  There are countless variations out there, but they almost all include strawberry jello, cool whip, and strawberries.  I turned that "salad" into deviled strawberries filled with spiced mascarpone whipped cream.  There is a bit of cardamom in the cream, and it gives it such a wonderful warmth and spice.  This was probably my favorite dish, and  I definitely ate more than my fair share while I prepped them.

I also had to include the infamous dirt cake.  Layers of instant pudding, cool whip, and crushed oreos make up this dessert, and usually gummy worms are thrown on top for good measure.  I turned that into chocolate pudding parfaits made with homemade pudding (mousse would have been even better), whipped cream, and I topped each one with a sprinkling of thin mints.

And finally, for what was probably the most popular dish of the night, I was inspired by Watergate Salad to make macarons.  I know there are probably several names for this dessert, along with just as many variations, but the gist is pistachio pudding, marshmallows, and fruit cocktail.  I made pistachio macarons with marshmallow filling, and served them with fresh cherries.  These were all gone within the first hour of the party, which made me wish I had made a double batch!

I had so much fun planning this party, and I think everyone got a big kick out of the idea.  Many of the inspiration dishes are nostalgic for so many of us, so it was especially fun to elevate them into cocktail party status.   Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for sponsoring my party, and happy birthday to Christi and Kendra!!


26 comments:

Courtney said...

What an absolutely creative theme! Everything looks wonderful - especially those macarons!

warmvanillasugar said...

So fun! Love these ideas :)

Courtney said...

I love this! I made caramelized onion dip for my 24x24 party, too. :) Everything looks so delicious, and I can't wait to see the recipes! :)

ErinsFoodFiles said...

Holy cow! What an awesome party! Great job!

branny said...

What a hilarious party theme! Love it.

Jill (JBean Cuisine) said...

Absolutely love the theme of the party and the food looks so delicious - can't wait for the recipes.
(you also look great!)

Tara @ Smells Like Home said...

Yay Josie! Your party turned out so great and it is so cool to see all of your ideas come to fruition. Everything looked fabulous!

Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do It said...

What an awesome menu! Love all your classy takes!

KatiePerk said...

What an amazing spread!! That all looks so good. Nice work!

The Poet Herself said...

Nice elevation of standard fare! Sounds like it was a delicious party!

Cara said...

What a great idea- and so creatively done! Now, if only I could think of a way to conspicuously share this with a few folks who could take the hint ;)

Lizzy said...

Josie! What an amazing spread! Everything looks beautiful AND delicious...such a cute idea~

Michelle said...

It looks beautiful! Great job. Your parties are always wonderful.

Shanon said...

This has got to be one of the best party ideas ever. I love you twist on everything-so clever! Everything sounds so delicious, too! And I love that blue dress. :)

The Honey Nut said...

I love this idea!!! The "classy" pigs and a blanket are hilarious.

Karla said...

I love this! And I can't wait for the recipe for the "deviled" strawberries....I just made my own mascarpone cheese last week! Perfect!

elly said...

I love this idea so much, and everything looked like it turned out awesome! Of course, your cute belly is awesome, too. :)

Bridget said...

What a fun idea! I love it. Oh, and I can tell you how cheese plates can be trashy: my mother-in-law cubes up chunks of Kraft cheddar, pepper jack, and swiss and dumps a can of black California olives into a bowl. It's so sad for me every holiday to see that something that could be so, so good is so flat and bland. I wish we could have your cheese tray instead!

Jigginjessica said...

I love all of it!!! Great 24x24!

Lindsay@Pinchofyum said...

This is great! I have a full-out trashy salad that I'll be posting about tomorrow (and I love it!). Maybe you can give it some class? :)

Nikki said...

This is hilarious, love it. And, you look great!

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes said...

Love this! I had no idea we were both participating - how fun!

Audra@The-Baker-Chick said...

I love every aspect of this party! So well thought out, creative and delicious looking. So glad you got chosen! :)

Rachel said...

How much fun was this? Tons!

You've been Food Buzzed!

oishiifood said...

How fun! I love your takes on those dishes!

Deborah Dowd said...

What a fun concept, and so well-executed!! All of your highbrow versions sound and look wonderful and I will definitely give them a try.

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