This past weekend was my daughter's farewell. 'Farewell' is a Mormon term for when the soon-to-be-missionary speaks in church. Ideally, the farewell occurs the Sunday before the missionary leaves, but because of a host of scheduling difficulties we held Jordan's farewell a few weeks early. And because I like to celebrate every event with the trump of exhaustive fanfare, we made an entire day of it. Lots of visiting family (and one visiting boyfriend) converged on the church Sunday morning to hear Jordan speak. After the service, we all caravanned to my mom's house where she, my SIL, and my sister put on a brunch for 30. Remember, we are Mormons...that's pretty much just immediate family.
After brunch, my crew headed home to finish our preparations for an Open House to be held in the evening. And by finish, I mean DO A BUNCH OF STUFF. As you may have gathered from my macaron-making posts, I had settled on a French food theme for the Open House. This experience has yielded me an exceedingly close relationship with my pastry bag. The only downside with the French foods was that much of the menu needed last minute finishes, so I was cooking down to the wire. The final hour of prep found all hands on deck in the kitchen. We even put the boyfriend to work.
I went with the colors of the French flag and a little gold thrown in for good measure. Coming up with a color scheme early on in the party-planning process really helps streamline procurement of the party goods. I'm not a big fan of the cooking, but I do enjoy considering the presentation. Some of the most time consuming part for me, then, is collecting the supplies -- cups for the fruit, tiny square, plastic shot glasses for the pots de creme, table runners, flowers, teeny, tiny spoons. But it's worth it people! What's a party without tiny plastic shot glasses?
Here's a blurry pic of the mini strawberry and cream eclairs we made by the dozens. (Seriously, over 100 . . . and not a single leftover). Eclairs are deceptively simple to make. I did all of the shells in under an hour. From here on out, we'll be having eclairs at every family function. Or until I get sick of them. Which will probably be never.
Tada!!! I went back and forth on the macarons about two dozen times.
I'll make them.
No, they're too hard.
I CAN DO IT.
No, they're too hard.
I can buy them.
I should buy them.
But they are $2 a piece!
I'm definitely buying them.
Nope, making them.
Even though my understanding and expertise of the macaronage did increase with practice, I'd say overall my success rate was only about 50%. I ended up with 150 total: 50 vanilla, 50 strawberry, and 50 chocolate. We flew through those 150 macarons in about 45 minutes. I call this "America and the Macaron: A Love Story."
And just for your planning pleasure, here are the deets:
Macarons: The vanilla and strawberry macarons use an Italian-style meringue. For the strawberry I tinted the shells pink and used strawberry puree in the buttercream filling. For the vanilla I tried Swiss Buttercream, which pretty much changed my life. The chocolate macarons are also an Annie's Eats recipe, although they employ the French method.
Mini eclairs with strawberries and cream: This Martha Stewart recipe is seriously easy and tasty. People were eating these in multiples. Make sure you have real vanilla beans on hand for the filling. I bought mini eclair papers, but found they fit fine on cupcake liners, which ended up taking less space on a platter, (according to my husband who is something of an efficiency expert in these matters).
Baked brie en croute with apple compote: My brother and SIL had made this before for a family dinner and it is delicious. I made the apple compote the day before and used frozen puff pastry, so this took like 7 minutes to put together. The only bummer was I forgot to thaw the puff pastry. If I had it to do again, I'd set a timer on my phone that screamed "TAKE OUT THE PUFF PASTRY." I did two of these...and there was not a bite left.
Bite sized Greek salad: Okay, this isn't exactly French, but I wanted something savory, and Jordan LOVES feta. And I thought they would look pretty. I wish I had a picture of these for you -- lovely little appetizers lined in rows on a square, white porcelain platter. I found feta for the best price at Costco.
Pioneer Woman Pots de creme al'orange: My SIL and brother made these. They did 40 and people were literally fighting over them. We put them in these containers and included tiny spoons, which somehow make eating decadent cups of chocolate even more fun. Like that's possible.
Pain au chocolate: I originally planned on buying these from Central Market. But when I arrived at Central Market on Saturday, they had all of three on hand. I made a call to Panera, who obliged me with two dozen. I cut them in fourths, dusted them with powdered sugar, and put them in cupcake liners.
Fruit: I've seen these fruit cups on Pinterest any number of times. At first I thought the cups might be too small, but they were the perfect size. I included watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. We originally put out 40. Then made another 20. We could have easily done 80-100. The cups are super cute and have a shiny coating that make them perfect for fruit. I bought mine here.
I also served Petite Palmiers and truffles coated with cocoa powder -- both from Costco. We still have some leftover truffles, which call to me from time to time from their shelf on the pantry. Do NOT buy these truffles. They are dangerous and evil. And I love them dearly.
And that's it folks. We have a bit more shopping to do, some serious packing (only two suitcases allowed), and then she's off to Lyon via the Provo MTC. If I didn't have an impending high school graduation to consider, I'd probably be bereft. I'm saving bereft for mid-June. Meet me there?