I'm very excited to announce Finding Frenchie was selected for June's Foodbuzz 24x24! I quickly submitted a proposal for my upcoming party hosting Russian delegates here at our home. The excitement had set in but then I remembered that entertaining as a military wife presents it's own set of challenges. Limited space in an on-base house, no budget or help, and my husband is always at work so that leaves me and my creativity!
I believe prepping is key. I began a few days out selecting platters and pulling out items I use mostly for special occasions and holidays. The Russians are coming so why not use the good stuff?
I learned this quick tip and it certainly earns it's keep. I use small sticky notes on the dishes & platters to get a visual of where everything goes.
I have been collecting these small cocktail plates for years and I love using them instead of the clear plastic plates you often see. It's a bit more work as you'll have dishes to wash later but they add such an elegant touch. I find them at vintage stores and grab them when I can.
I have one of those silverware caddy's but I think those are better used at picnics. I had a silver dish I received as a wedding gift forever ago and lined it with a nice cloth napkin. My forks were of multiple patterns so I laid them upside down but they would be lovely either way.
Now for the food. I picked up a Russian cookbook at my local library to read up on dishes they might enjoy...and any I could manage to make. Burgundy Marinated Mushrooms with Dill- these were delicious and had such a rich color.
Again, prepping in advance is key when you're hosting a large party of 30 people so I made the Lemon Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce and Curry Deviled Eggs in advance.
A beautiful cheese board. Classic & Classy. I served large chunks of Gouda, Brie, Bleu, & Cheddar with grapes and dried apricots.
Don't be afraid of the meatballs. These are a go-to filler when you're afraid of running out of food. Or in my case, want a fridge full after the party...but I'd rather have too much food than not enough. I used a simple Herb Stroganoff Sauce but wish I would have done a Tomato-Vodka Sauce for color.
A quick display. You may be able to spot Sergey there- he's the Russian General and he is a super nice man...and he loved the food!
Some little extras of olives, crackers, and Salted Cucumbers. More to come on those.
Lots of meat- I served Thai Chicken and Chipotle Beef Skewers. Another tip is to serve on white or clear glass as you may have heard but I always use lettuce on the bottoms as needed to break it up. You wouldn't believe how it changes a dish.
Here is the menu I created with both country's flags. I had a Russian translator from my husband's office help me with adding each dish and explanation in both languages. Sergey was so impressed that he took a copy home.
There's nothing more fun than having Russian guests pull your wall decor off for a photo op. You know it's a good party!
Things have changed quite a bit from the Cold War ~ James Bond era. I found our guests nothing less than hospitable, gracious, and kind. Brought together over dishes prepared with them in mind- we're proud to call them friends.
Hubby & I as the guests arrive. I love wearing black & white for a classic look. Add red nails and lips and you're ready for any event.
A small American flag to represent the host family.
Lots of flowers around the house. These were from my sweet friend, Channon.
We had such nice weather during the party so we opened all the double doors to allow a free flow of air and people. Placing a few hanging baskets in the backyard was an easy and inexpensive touch too.
Now this is exciting to me. Sergey the General, gave these beautiful spoons to me as a hostess gift. They're painted in traditional Russian technique. With my husband travelling to Russia so often, these spoons actually complete my collection of bowls and plates. These are used in eating Borscht- a Russian beet soup.
I love the orange and gold together. I'll keep these in a special place.
Now for the Salted Cucumbers. I have to brag, Sergey and the others toasted to my Salted Cucumbers. I'm not even sure what to say. They said that my recipe made them feel at home and they expressed deep gratitude that I made the effort to make them feel welcome with dishes from home. I have to say, this will be a experience that I'll never forget.
2 lbs cucumbers, sliced in half moons
2 inches of fresh horseradish, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 c water
3 TB kosher salt
2 tsp red wine vinegar
In a saucepan, combine water, salt, and red wine vinegar. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, add all other ingredients to glass jar(s) or covered bowl. Pour cooled mixture over cucumbers and allow to marinate at least 6 hours to overnight. Serve with cold vodka. Will keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
That's Russian for Bon Appetit!