An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

”Facebook ”Twitter ”LinkedIn ”RSS” ”Pinterest” ”Google+”

Welcome to Wedding Season-Celebrate your Engagement with a Spring Cocktail Party

By on Feb 19, 2011, 5:02 pm in Celebrations, Food and Drink, Party Planning Tips, Recipes-Savory | 8 comments

The period between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is the busiest season for marriage proposals. That means we’re now right smack in the midst of engagement party and wedding planning season.


So today, I am beginning an occasional series of posts on how to’s- suggestions for parties and receptions, and tips on how to find, select and work with a caterer for all the festivities coming up, starting with the engagement party.

Early Spring is a great time for a cocktail party-okay, so really, I think anytime is a great time for a cocktail party-but featuring the produce of early Spring at a cocktail party, after the doldrums of winter, is a lovely theme to signify the beginning of your new life together.

Serve asparagus spears that are just beginning to push through the cold earth with a luscious creamy dip, delicate smoked salmon canapés topped with salmon roe, (recipe below), garnish a crostini of herbed English pea purée with tender pea tendrils. Morels are a truly special treat, if you can find them at your local farmer’s market. Sauté them with early green garlic and herbs, and top a stuffed new potato with them. Splurge (after all- you are getting married!) on spring baby lamb chops with a minty salse verde. Garnish platters with delicate sweet pea flowers, and sprigs of herbs (chive blossoms are delightfully springy). Hint- notice the pink, lavender and green color theme emerging.



]BTW, if you’re getting married in early spring, a spring cocktail party happens to make for a great wedding reception, too.

Come back next time when I’ll share important tips for ensuring a successful cocktail party.


Smoked Salmon Canapés

Smoked Salmon Canapés

Yield @ 24 heart shaped canapés

  • @ 6 ounces  Smoked Salmon
  • @ 3 ounces salmon roe
  • 8 ounces Snofrisk, a lovely Norwegian cream cheese made of goat cheese and cow’s milk cream, softened*
  • 2 teaspoons shallots, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons chives, snipped
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill, chopped-plus additional chives for garnish
  • Freshly ground white pepper to taste
  • 12 slices of good sturdy white sandwich bread **

* As wonderful as Snofriks is, it is hard to find in stores. If you can’t find it, use 8 ounces of regular cream cheese, softened by mixing in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream

** I know good sturdy white sandwich breads have become harder and harder to find, but hopefully you’ll have a local bakery that makes one, like the pain de mie we are fortunate, in L.A., to have at La Brea Bakery.

  1.  Whip the cream cheese, adding the tablespoon of cream, if desired, to soften it. Stir in the minced shallots, chives, dill and white pepper.
  2. Spread about 1 tablespoon for the cream cheese mixture on each slice of bread, then cover the slice with slices of smoked salmon.
  3. Cut two canapés with a heart shaped cookie cutter from each prepared slice. Pipe a dot of the cream cheese mixture into the cneter of each heart canapé, then top the dot of mixture with about a half teaspoon of the salmon roe. Finish with snipped chives to garnish.

Yield: 24 canapés


  1. Parties are your specialty! Bring on the tips! GREG

    Avatar sippitysup

    February 21, 2011

  2. Thanks for your tips, great smokes salmon canapes recipe its given me inspiration for my dinner party on saturday.


    June 14, 2011

  3. Wow I must say that the Smoked Salmon Canapes look divine. I am cooking for my husband for our anniversary and would love a recipe like this but using chicken, do you have any inspiration for me? Many Thanks.

    Avatar Denmark is Great

    June 21, 2011

  4. I have made and tried the smoked salmon canapes, thank you so much for the recipe, they are absolutely lovely!

    Avatar Joanne

    July 11, 2011

  5. @ Joanne- Thank you so much for letting me know!



    Avatar Gisele Perez

    July 11, 2011

  6. Hi I have just set up my first catering business, having been in the trade for many years, I have decided to just go for it. Do you have any hints and tips for the smooth running of a party and catering for around 150 guests. It is by far the biggest I have taken on by myself so far and I am looking for advise. Many Thanks, ps I have read through some of your recipes they are inspirational

    Avatar Berlin Food

    July 26, 2011

  7. @Berlin Food

    Brave of you to start a catering business in this economic environment!

    Since you have worked in the catering industry for a long time, you have seen what works and what doesn’t firsthand. Observe carefully, and call on your experience. Beyond that, the best advice I can offer is to be organized- make lists- shopping lists, prep lists, packing lists- packing properly is one of the biggest challenges. And most importantly, hire good staff! Good staff- both kitchen and floor- are worth their weight in gold. As I’ve said in earlier posts, catering is more than good food. It’s important to convey to your clients how important this is to insure a party goes smoothly.

    Check out these posts :

    Avatar Gisele Perez

    July 26, 2011

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *