Monday, June 25, 2012 do the AAR from the welcome

...I hosted last week

For those of you not in the know that is army talk for After Action Review.

I was responsible for hosting the welcome for our new battalion commander's wife.  She is a super sweet person that is easy to please and it was fun to plan this event for her.  She mentioned to me that she liked 'girly food', cheeses, coffee, and wine.

The final menu was:

Asian chicken kabobs with honey mustard sauce
Mexican egg rolls with cilantro cream sauce
Pesto/Romano toasts
Goat cheese and caramelized onion crustinis
Cheese tray
Lemon bars
Mini chocolate raspberry filled cupcakes with chocolate ganache
Iced decaf coffee bar
Citrus mint cooler
White wines
Red wines
Cake pops (as a token of thanks for the guests)

pesto and romano toasts

cheese tray
goat cheese and caramelized onion crustini
baked mexican egg rolls 

lemon bars 
cake pops

Things I liked:

  • The menu was pretty safe.  Most of the items appealed to everyone.  I was able to make most everything ahead of time.  Some of the things I froze (caramelized onions, mexican egg rolls, unfrosted cupcakes, cake pops) and others I was able to make a day or two ahead of time (sauces, lemon bars).
  • This meant I wasn't in the kitchen the entire day of the event.  And consequently I was 'spun up' that much less on the day of the event.
  • The drink options were varied and appeared to be enjoyed.  There was an option for everyone.
  • I had each guest bring a bottle of wine.  I picked up a large basket and had it waiting by the door.  Jennifer had a lovely selection of wines to take home for all of the entertaining that she will be doing.
  • Thanks to the recommendation of an old friend of mine, I made Jennifer a centerpiece (of roses and hostea) in a water pitcher that I had etched with the unit crest.  
  • Cake pops....always a big hit.  And my kids (and Katie L.) LOVE making them.  AND they can be made well in advance.

Things I would do different:
  • I had too many things that required oven time shortly before the event.  I knew this but I didn't adjust accordingly.
  • I had too many bread products.  Again I knew this but was wanted to make some familiar items and thus was unwilling to change my menu options.
  • I certainly could have used a little more color on the table.  The lemon bars were a nice color punch...and I think something tomatoey would have been a pretty addition. (However, I did not want to make mini caprese again since I had made them for this same crowd two weeks before; and Amy vetoed a balsamic-garlic tomato option.)
  • Cheese tray: I love how this looks but I feel like these are never eaten.  Perhaps they should just be taken off of the menu?
  • I would have had a shrimp option but didn't because I am not very confident when preparing seafood; especially for my guests.
Most of the things on my "I would have done different list" were things my friend Kris told me long before I had the gathering when I sent her my menu for her to critique.

Next time maybe I'll listen and then she won't be able to say "I told you so!"  

1 comment:

  1. I think it looks great! Next time you could add something super easy like crockpot meatballs. All you have to do is dump a whole bag of meatballs in to a crock pot, add one jar of grape jelly, and one jar of chili sauce and voila! A few hours later they are delicious-- and easy to serve with toothpicks! Another easy app are proscuitto wrapped pears with arugala, salt and pepper and lemon juice rolled up. Easy and "green" like you wanted to add. But it looks like everyone had a great time! Good work! :)