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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Lazy Hostess: Cocktails & Hors D'Oeuvres

As a hostess, I am self-admittedly a little on the lazy side. But, do you blame me for loving the party more than the prep?

I promise you that with some savvy planning your guests will never know the difference. So, what's my secret for stylish and simple entertaining? I think the Beatles said it best - I get by with a little help from my friends...

When it comes to cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, let me make a few introductions. Only a click away, these special "friends" have always been there for me in times of event planning need.

For the most delicious hors d'oeuvres, order from The Perfect Bite Co. Their Pastry Kisses are made by hand in small batches with fresh ingredients. The signature kiss is the Blueberry Lemon Cream, an all-butter puff pastry filled with cream cheese, fresh lemon zest, vanilla bean and whole blueberries. Other favorites include the Caramelized Onion and Feta (shown, above left) as well as the Basil Pesto Gorgonzola.

The genius part of these hors d'oeuvres is that they come frozen with a disposable baking pan. All you do is pop a few trays into the oven throughout the night. Trays of 12 kisses are $11.95 and there is a 3 tray minimum. Other appetizers include cocktail pizzas, mushroom caps and crostini by the dozen. Delivery is by DHL overnight with dry ice and/or ice packs to ensure frozen food stays cool.

For dessert, Black Hound New York has incredible chocolate, cookies and cakes. Order a selection of the miniature cakes and display them on a three tiered cake stand. I love their signature mini Busy Bee Cake which consists of layers of chocolate butter cake, almond butter cake, and bittersweet chocolate mousse covered in marzipan and chocolate and decorated with adorable, edible marzipan almond bees. An order of six miniature cakes is $45 and will feed up to 12 guests. Delivery is next day air. Those of you in NYC can visit their hip little chocolate shop on Second Avenue to preview all their delectable treats.

I'm a late night shopper and there is something about buying my booze online that gives me a whole new kind of retail rush. Astor Wines and Spirits is one of the best liquor stores in New York and their web site features an extensive selection of amazing wine bargains from around the world. Orders made by noon will be delivered the next business day. Delivery is free with orders over $75.

Don't fuss over a full bar unless you have a bartender. Serving white and red wine, champagne and one spirit is more than enough. A signature cocktail such as a margarita or mojito in a pitcher is a great way to have your guests serve themselves. Crate and Barrel has some beautiful and inexpensive pitchers and glasses. The Ona is only $24.95. Use a few of these together to create a sleek service bar to hold mixers such as soda, tonic and fruit juice.

With all the time and effort you saved, you can spend it on the only thing that might still need some!

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