As most of us know, throwing a successful party is much more difficult than it looks. Pulling together great food, decor and entertainment without completely stressing out requires a lot of planning and plenty of attention to detail.
This month, we’re shining our spotlight on HonestlyYUM blogger Erica Chan Coffman to share her thoughts on what makes a great party — just in time for Easter!
Erica’s love of entertaining was the catalyst behind her blog, HonestlyYUM. There she provides helpful, stress-free tricks and tips to host perfect parties. But when she isn’t busy inspiring others, the she feels happiest playing hostess herself.
Read on for Erica’s thoughts on entertaining, and a peek at some of her best Easter Brunch recipes!
Q: What do you enjoy most about entertaining?
A: There is nothing more satisfying than having all of your favorite people gathered in one place, eating, drinking, laughing and being merry.
Q: Which party trends are you most excited about in 2014?
A: I’ve been really into having my guests get involved in the drink and/or dinner prep – whether it’s setting up a DIY cocktail station so that they can make their own drinks or creating a DIY pizza station where they can customize their own gourmet pizza. It’s so much fun!
Q: What’s your go-to cocktail to serve at a party?
A: Pink champagne!
Q: Where do you go to get new ideas and inspiration?
A: Pinterest is my guilty pleasure. I also love pulling out all of my favorite cookbooks for entertaining ideas.
Q: What’s your best entertaining tip?
A: Wait until your last guest has left to start cleaning up.
Q: What are your top 5 party tips?
1. Make lists to help organize your thoughts, shopping plans, recipes – and sanity!
2. Set your table the day before. It helps gauge whether you have enough serveware and platters.
3. Flowers and candles can elevate any tablescape.
4. Personalized place cards are an easy way to make your guests feel special.
5. Make a playlist the night before so it’s ready to go when the guests arrive
Erica used some of our favorite Easter decor to put a modern spin on her version of Easter brunch with lamb, peas and eggs. “I think brunch should always be informal, so I love the idea of hosting Easter brunch buffet style,” she says. “Having crafts and games for kids is a great way to keep them happy and your party family friendly.”
PEA SHOOT SALAD
1 large handful of pea shoots
1/2 pound of english peas, shelled
1 bundle of radishes
2 bundles of small carrots
1 small bunch of fresh mint
2 balls of burrata
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Thinly slice the radishes and peeled carrots. Boil water with a hefty pinch of salt and cook peas for 4 minutes. Drain peas.
Plate pea shoots on a salad plate and scatter radishes, carrots, peas, and a few mint leaves over. Break apart the burrata and spread across the salad. To make the dressing, whisk olive oil into lemon juice and salt and pepper the dressing.
Dress the salad and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
2 pounds of ground lamb
4 celery stalks
1 large yellow onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups of tomato paste
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups of red wine
1 pound of bucatini, or any pasta
Roughly chop the carrots, onions and celery. Place in a food processor, add garlic cloves and puree. Heat a large wide pot on medium high heat and add olive oil. Add salt and saute the vegetables until soft and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add ground lamb, add salt, and saute until browned, another 10 minutes.
Add tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Add wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan with the wine. Add about 4 cups of water. Add thyme. The bolognese will be watery, but it will thicken again as you continue to cook the sauce.
Simmer the sauce on low heat with the lid off. Check on it occasionally, stirring. When most of the water evaporates and the sauce becomes thick again, add more water, about 3-4 cups. Repeat this process of adding water and cooking down the sauce about half way through. The final consistency should be not too thick but not too watery, like the photo above on the right. Cook for a total of 3 hours.
Cook pasta according to package directions in well salted boiling water. Reserve some pasta water and add to the pasta if it is too thick. Toss the bolognese in the pasta.
Top with grated parmesan and enjoy!
Plus, stay tuned for more of Erica Chan Coffman’s Easter brunch ideas tomorrow, right here, on the blog.