Floral & Feminine

Valentine’s Day romance is sweet, but sometimes it’s also fun to carve out a little time with your gal pals! Enjoy an afternoon filled with fruity and floral sips, botanical popcorn, truffle mac and blue cheese, sugar cookies for decorating, and bubbles.

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Botanical Popcorn

Add fresh thyme and earthy truffle salt to your home-popped corn, and serve in individual glassine bags.

_MG_5939Crafty Cocktails

Invite the gals to dress up their cocktail-glass tags with gorgeous fresh flowers, and a dab of floral glue. I used Kate Spade New York paper drink coasters. I punched a hole in the middle and cut a slit from the outer edge to the center so that the glass could slide through. Cut fresh flower stems down to the bloom, and affix to the coasters with glue.

Boozy Waterfall

Get the sweet celebration started with a coupe Champagne glass mini tower. Just stack, pour, and wait for the “oohs” and “aahs.”

_MG_6004French 75 Showstoppers

Offer guests a choice of either a rose-infused French 75 or cherry Pink French 75! Make the rose and cherry portion of this drink the night before, and pop it in the fridge. When guests arrive, pour a nice splash of the rose or cherry mixture in a martini glass and top with Champagne.

Rose French 75:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 drops rose water
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • Champagne

Mix water and sugar in a saucepan, and add 2 drops of rose water (available at your local market). Simmer, cool, and bottle. When it is cool, add vodka and fresh pink grapefruit juice to the bottle and chill. To serve, top with Champagne in a martini glass.

Cherry Pink French 75:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Splash of maraschino cherry juice
  • Three cherries
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup fresh pink grapefruit juice
  • Champagne

Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a saucepan. Add a nice splash of cherry juice and the cherries to the pan. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the cherries begin to fall apart. Cool, strain, pour into a bottle, and let cool. To the bottle add vodka and grapefruit juice and chill. To serve, top with Champagne in a martini glass.

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Blue Cheese and Truffle Mac 

(Makes five 5-inch-diameter ramekin servings)

_MG_6159This do-ahead dish is an easy and yummy take on traditional macaroni and cheese. The blue cheese and truffle salt are nice twists on this old classic.

  • 14 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups grated fontina cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cube unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • Leaves from four thyme stems
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt
  • White pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated for sprinkling
  1. Boil pasta according to package directions.
  2. Sauté shallots, thyme, and truffle salt in a sauté pan with the butter until the shallots soften and become translucent.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the water.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauté pan, and coat in the butter mixture. Add a little white pepper.
  5. Add the fontina, cheddar, and blue cheeses. On medium-low heat, stir it all together until it is melted and gooey. Add some of the pasta water to the pan to keep the mixture moist. Top generously with Parmesan.
  6. Divide between the ovenproof ramekins. Refrigerate until party-ready. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes until heated through. Run under the broiler for a minute or two to brown.

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Jazzed-Up Java

Hit that cup of espresso with a little rich Italian chocolate cream, and make it special.

DIY Dessert

Invite the ladies to decorate their own dessert. Make a batch of sugar cookies ahead of time. Pull together kits of ready-made frosting and sprinkles, and let the guests go to town!

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See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and on her website at lafamigliadesignllc.com. Credits: Hair by Seven the Salon, senior stylist Chu. Pink glass vases from Haley’s Cottage. Paper hearts from Kitchen Papers. X’s and O’s wrapping paper from The Container Store at The Bellevue Collection. Paper Doilies from Crate and Barrel at The Bellevue Collection. Menu ingredients from Metropolitan Market in Kirkland. 

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