"It's A Very HealthDoll Holiday"
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Ten Tips for Hosting An Easy Elegant Perfectly Chic "laborless" Labor Day Party!
Labor Day is just around the bend, and whilst my signature farm to fork and fabulous end of summer event is something I simply adore putting on, I'm also cognizant to the fact that while everyone enjoys a good event, some could stand to stress a little less in bringing it to fruition. Alas... with the help of Farm Fresh To You, this former farm girl has put together a 10 tip guide to make sure your event is enjoyed by all.... and most especially you!
Nothing sets the tone that a good time is in store more than an incredible farm to fist imbibe awaiting upon your guests' arrival. The secret to executing this stage setting marvel, however, lies in smart and savvy cocktail menu planning that utilizes real ingredients at the peak of freshness for a beverage as organically delicious as the friendship it celebrates. While fancy smancy difficult to execute cocktails may seem impressive, nothing is as impressive as keeping the drinks flowing. Therefore, select a cocktail recipe (or 2) that is able to be whipped up relatively easy, can be made by guests themselves, and or batch prepped the night before.
Here are a couple libations I'll be featuring this Labor Day
2 ounces Square One Basil Vodka
1 teaspoon Primal Kitchen Organic Steak Sauce
1 ounce Jeff's Naturals Castelvetrano Olive juice (more or less according to taste)
1 teaspoon Siete Hot Sauce
A couple turns of Redmond's Real Salt Garlic Herb Seasoning
Some like it hot indeed! If you are one of them, add some crushed red chili pepper in this recipe! Salt & Vinegar Chips your thing? Try some Jeff's Naturals Pepperoncini juice in your next Bloody Mary for a certain je ne sais quoi pucker that all will love, but none will be able to leave behind.
What you garnish a Bloody Mary with can be just as important as how you make it! But why stress over such detail when you can direct your guests to do so themselves in an interactive activity that gets them mingling as they mangia! While the above recipe can in fact be conveniently batched prepped the day before, a garnish bar adds a fresh and individual cocktail experience. My hands down favorite brand for such a task is Jeff's Naturals, who handcrafts deliciously brined antipasto and garnish goods that pack all the savory delight of their conventional counterparts without the chemical additive corruption. As if that was not already enough, their country chic branding requires nothing else apart from popping the lid. Other Jeff's Naturals items I like to include are: Pickled Jalapenos, Sundried Tomatoes, Capers, Cherry Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, and Bleu Cheese Stuffed Olives. Fresh garden herbs such as Basil and Rosemary also add a zesty touch!
Cucumber Mint Rum Refresher
This easy to make imbibe includes muddled mint and lime, with Papagayo Organic Rum, and is topped with ice and New Wave cucumber lime soda. For a sophisticated beverage option for younger guests or those abstaining, simply omit the alcohol.
Organic Black Cherry Bourbon Mule
Contemporary cocktail culture goes Dixie with this all organic Farm to Fist favorite which features Greenbar Organic Whiskey, with muddled black cherries, fresh ginger and lime juice, and Alta Palla's sparkling organic black cherry soda . Candied or fresh Ginger makes an excellent garnish, alongside a lemon wedge and classic Bordeaux cherry!
The Infamous Chip & Dip
Its hard to believe that the beloved American version of antipasto, aka the chip and dip, has only been with us as of the 1960's. Yet vintage or forward thinking hearts alike, its ever the perpetual crowd pleasure, and one that saves you both time and money when playing hostess with the mostess. Simply seek out artisan and batch crafted chips, crudités , and other crunchies alongside handcrafted whole food dip options. We opted for classic California favorites Guacamole and Mango Salsa here.
Get Chic with A Classic Canapé
Topping a Canapé requires little in the way of preparation, but can impart an impressive impact on guests long after they've left for the evening. Simply assemble complimentary flavors over your favorite cracker or crunchy base and present alongside edible farm fresh additions for both aesthetic and culinary value.
Caprese Canapé Cracker over Rustic Bakery Organic Sourdough Flatbread bites. featuring organic vine ripened tomatoes, hand picked basil, Ciliegine Organic mozzarella pillows, aged organic reserve balsamic vinegar, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil drizzle, and finished with fresh cracked teliherry pepper and Redmond's sea salt
Eating In Season is Always an Excellent Idea !
Just a hundred years ago, eating in season was the norm for Americans. Today, however, we've sadly traded in the more limited yet palate pleasing goodness of seasonal cuisine for an abundance of ever available, yet equally unimpressive eats. A trade off of convenience no doubt , but one the has come at the cost of our health and palate indeed. What does all this have to do with throwing a party you ask? A seasonal menu not only helps set the tone of your event , but also requires little in the way of preparation to shine. Since it doesn't get any more fresh that straight from the farm itself, Farm Fresh To You provides a perfect canvas of in season eats that don't depend on high strung hoity toity culinary skill taste good. Best of all, no overalls, long drives to the country, or effort required on your behalf. This peak level produce of dreams (meats, cheese, plant based options, and condiments) arrives straight to your door!
Make Sure Your Menu Can MultiTask
Throwing a memorable event isn't about serving a million and one things, its about presenting what you got... in a million and one different ways. Mother nature doesn't waste and neither should you. By all means, plan the menu of your dreams, but learning how to showcase and or tweak certain items for an alternate culinary presentation is what the hallmark of in home entertaining is really all about.
and here is such an example in action...
Make Eating Easy!
Getting tasty eats on the table is only half the battle when it comes to entertaining. Making them easy and fuss free to eat is the other! While canapes, chip and dip, and artichokes might be rather stress free to serve, when it comes to some of the main courses of the day, a little prep work can go a long way. Not only is taking this factor into consideration conducive to more optimally prepared food, it also impacts how efficiently it gets served as well!
Meet my Spatchcock Style BBQ Roast Chicken to illustrate this very point!
What is Spatchcock chicken you ask?
Spatchcock style chicken is for all purposes, a chicken with the backbone removed, lending to a butterflied presentation that allows the chicken to roast flat, and cook both more evenly and , more quickly. It also makes for a gorgeous presentation that is likewise as easy to serve from.
Thanks to such preparation not only is cooking the perfect chicken a low maintenance breeze, there will be no messy fork and knife faux pas over here thank you very much!
Wash and dry chicken , ensuring to pat down and dry off chicken as much as possible to ensure a crispy skin. Coat first with Redmond's Organic seasoning salt (an amazing blend) and Simply Organic Garlic Herb seasoning. Depending how much salt you like on the chicken, a bit more Redmond's regular Real Salt can also be added. Coat chicken in seasoning and rub into bird thoroughly. Next, pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil onto bird and continue to mix seasoning into skin. Add in New Primal BBQ sauce (I generally use between half to a full cup of sauce) till bird is fully coated in sauce. Don't be afraid to be liberal with the sauce and see some in the pan. This will not be wasted, as it will reduce with the oil and chicken stock as the bird cooks. Proceed to dust bird in Primal Palate's BBQ seasoning until fully coated. This last coating of seasoning is what will help to create the crisp and crust texture over the BBQ sauce. It will be the first form of flavor on the palate, followed by the deeper levels of flavor such as the garlic herb, and all purpose seasoning. Such use of multiple seasonings to layer in and add depth to dishes is a signature cooking style of mine.
Next... lay bird with the body cavity exterior facing up in pan. I use a stainless steel roasting pan, but other materials such as non toxic ceramic can also work here. Lastly, ensure there is residual sauce in the pan in addition to what has coated the chicken, then add in chicken broth (the juice of one lemon here is also a nice addition to kick up acidity). Depending on the size of your pan, the amount needed here will vary. Essentially you are going to want to see approximately a quarter inch to half inch of fluid total in the pan evenly surrounding the bird. Not enough to rise up onto the chicken and wash away seasoning, but enough to never run dry throughout the cooking process. The aim is to have crispy toasted skin, but allow the drippings and juices to meddle with the oil, seasoning, sauce, lemon juice, and broth to reduce into an absolutely delicious BBQ Au Jus in which later accompaniments such as the corn, and potatoes pictured here may be added in. It's also an excellent option to have for bread dipping, and or simply serving atop the chicken itself.
While most chicken preparations would cook unevenly and burn in certain areas when exposed to high heat cooking, a Spatchcock style chicken circumvents this issue by being able to lay flat in the pan and take advanced heat evenly and beautifully. It is in fact exactly what I did here. Instead of merely starting out with a higher roast temperature, I kept the oven at 450F for 10 minutes and then lowered to just 425F for the remainder of the cooking time. Depending on the personal variation in temperature calibration of your oven, this process should take roughly between 45 to 55 minutes with this size bird. Temping the bird to ensure it has reached 165F will indicate when cooking should cease, and the bird should be removed from further heat. Allow 10 minutes for juices to settle and serve
Garnish with fresh herbs like the thyme pictured here and fold in seasonal produce for a striking, yet functional culinary centerpiece that is as easy to serve as it is to savor! Pictured Here: Farm Fresh To You Spatchcock Roasted BBQ Chicken.
NEVER Sacrifice on Quality!
If you wouldn't eat it solo ... don't serve it to your family and friends! With efficient and economical food preparation such as the grassfed sirloin skewers pictured on the barbie here, there's simply no need to serve anything other than 100% grassfed! With only 11 ounces of sirloin, three tri colored bell peppers, and a small box of button mushrooms, I created nearly 20 savory skewers for everyone to enjoy several times over. Best of all, aside from stretching my menu (and my money) with such sirloin saving savoir-faire , it was all prepared the night before and marinated overnight to create the absolutely most tender morsels of magic imaginable. This is a positively perfect example of how the proper preparation can not only save time, but pump up the culinary power of your menu as well.
The best parties include everyone! Which is why I always have a few vegan and vegetarian menu items on the menu like this here Vegan Lavash Flatbread!
and this lovely little Organic Puttanesca Strozzapreti...
To make simply begin with one California Lavash brand flatbread piece and coat with sauce to desired sauce saturation level. Place thinly sliced vegan cheese of choice, Italian herb medley , and bake till golden brown or desired level of doneness is complete. This recipe can also work over select open grille stations as well. Now how's that for easy elegant entertaining?!
Use Food Beyond Culinary Value
Use it to Connect ...
Annie's Homegrown Organic Graham Crackers and Equal Exchange Extra Dark Chocolate may be awaiting these roasting Rustic Puff Artisan Marshmallows... but the real connection being cooked up here isn't of the tangible kind...
Above all.... remember that