L’aissez les bon temps rouler … let the good times roll! We recently let our imaginations travel down the Mississippi River to create a fantastic New Orleans themed dinner party. The décor, the food, the music and the dessert! So much fun to experience. We take you step by step through our planning process to create a party that will allow you and your guests to feel like you’ve been transported to Bourbon Street, the French Quarter and the Garden District, without even leaving your kitchen. Make the Big Easy, well easy … and fun! Here’s how:
THE DECOR … !
We wanted to recreate the festive atmosphere for which the city is known on our tabletop. Gold, green and purple are the classic Mardi Gras colors, so we started with this color palette. Fun and classic décor items including beads, coins and feathered masks were the perfect accessories. We used the masks’ elastic bands to hold them in place on cylindrical vases of varying heights. Putting submersible, battery operated lights at the bottom of the vases allowed them to glow and create a celebratory mood.
In addition, fun jazz silhouettes added to the table’s New Orleans feel. By placing the cutouts next to the vases, the lights to illuminate them, creating an effect similar to a theatrical spotlight.
PRO TIP: Vases don’t always need to be filled with flowers. For this table, we used glittered floral sticks in sparkling gold, purple and green in lieu of florals. It was easy and the décor is reusable, which we love.
Finally, a sequined jester’s hat adds to the fun. We propped it up with a small clear vase and lighted it from underneath. When building a fun tablescape, it’s all about varying the heights.
THE FOOD … !
New Orleans is known for many things and great food is certainly at the top of the list. We choose a creole kitchen favorite for this party, Gumbo. And if you know New Orleans cuisine, than you know nobody does it better than Tony Chachere’s. We turned to this expert for an easy gumbo recipe.
THE COCKTAILS … !
Yes, cocktails. Plural. While food may be the first thing you think of with respect to New Orleans, drinks aren’t too far behind. Two in particular stand out … the Sazerac and the Hurricane. We served both!
THE DESSERT … !
Bananas Foster is the most ordered item on the menu of Brennan’s, the famed New Orleans restaurant. Below is the recipe, which provides a fantastic ending to this delicious meal, plus its fun to make!
1 ounce of butter
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ ounces banana liqueur
1 ½ ounces aged rum
½ banana per person
Combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a iron skillet pan. As the butter melts under medium heat, add the banana liquor and stir to combine. As the sauce starts to cook, peel and add the bananas to the pan. Cook the bananas until they begin to soften (about 1-2 minutes). Once hot carefully add the rum. Carefully use a candlelighter to ignite the rum. Stir the sauce to ensure that all of the alcohol cooks out. Serve cooked bananas over ice cream and top with the sauce in the pan.
THE MUSIC … !
You can’t throw a New Orleans party without some great music. Here are a few “noteworthy” options:
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA FOR:
National Banana Day on April 15
A couples’ dinner party