Spring seems to be the season for moving — at least judging by the number of my friends who are packing up and moving homes right now! As soon as the books are on the shelves and the forks are back in a drawer, it's time to invite the masses over to check out your awesome new digs. A bag of chips and bowls of dip will not suffice for this housewarming, oh no! Let's make sure this party is the memorable first of many more to come.
- Prosciutto-Wrapped Arugula
- Crostini with Pea Shoots and Strawberries
- Chez Panisse Herbed Almonds
- Puff Pastry Cheese Straws
- Leek, Ricotta & Lemon Flatbreads
- Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas
- No-Bake Lemon Cream & Coconut Icebox Cupcakes
- Roasted Grape Granita with Red Wine
- Pimm's Cup Cocktail
- Cucumber-Rosemary Gin & Tonic
- Beer and Wine
New house. Fresh foods. Open windows (hopefully!). Lots of happy faces. That's the kind of party that I'm envisioning here. This is the kind of affair where you stop by and have a cocktail with nibbles while chatting in groups. It's casual and friendly. Pork tacos make a more substantial meal for those who want one and dessert is there for those who linger on into the late evening.
Making It Happen
You just spent several weeks packing, moving, and unpacking again, so while you want this evening to be special, I'm thinking you probably don't want it taking hours and hours to throw together. This menu is full of elegant bites, but ones that are easy to make ahead. This is also a pretty full menu, I realize! Obviously, you can cut the number of dishes down to match the size of your party and the time you have available to cook and prep.
The pork carnitas are made in the slow cooker (though here's how to do it in the oven if you don't have a slow-cooker). You can make this dish in the day or two before the party, if you like, and re-heat them on the WARM setting in the slow cooker before the party starts. Set a stack of tortillas and other taco toppings near the slow-cooker and let people serve themselves.
Make the prosciutto-wrapped arugula, the almonds, the icebox cupcakes, and the granita (a.k.a. adult slushy) throughout the morning before the party, and then pull them out as needed during the party itself. The cheese straws can also be prepped in the morning, kept refrigerated, and then baked off in batches throughout the party. If you prep all the ingredients for the flatbreads ahead of time, these are also easy to make and bake throughout the party for a hot appetizer. The crostini is best assembled right before the party starts, though the bread can be toasted at any point throughout the day.
I love Pimm's Cups in the springtime. It's such a light and refreshing drink, and so very classy. Since they're a fairly light alcoholic drink, I like serving a gin cocktail alongside for those who would like something stronger. Set up a drink station with all the ingredients and write up a recipe card for people to follow. If you have a cocktail-savvy friend, you might put him or her in charge of helping people with their cocktail assembly.
With the food situation all set, a few strategically placed bouquets of spring flowers and a fun dinner party playlist complete the whole evening.
What would you serve at a spring housewarming party?
(Images: See linked posts)