I have an annual "Mardi Gras in May" anniversary party. The only thing you can’t always get that late are Moon Pies. They should be ordered now if you want them. Here is how I do it:
For fast decorating, focus on tablecloths and centerpieces. Most bang for the least trouble. Music is mandatory! It will do the most to set the tone. Masks are also a must, but you can get cheap ones. There are a few ways to go about decorating:
1. Full-on Mardi Gras. Order the purple, gold and green crepe paper and mask cut-outs. But it always seems a little tacky and kid-party-ish.
2. Mix a nice purple with silver, and order beads in those colors to strew across the table. I decorate the table with beads sprinkled with plastic crawfish and "king cake" babies. I have vases of fresh irises as well.
3. Follow the wedding colors and buy beads and masks in those colors.
4. Go "pirate"…fill chests from Pier One or World market with beads and lace and mardi gras doubloons. Get spooky-looking candelabra and serve things on big silver platters. Order eyepatches and hats from the party websites.
5. Go "swampland"..plastic alligators, washboard, tin buckets filled with Moon pies, Spanish moss
For drinks, order Hurricane mix. It is like Kool-aid. You mix it with rum. If your area has Abita beers, that will be good.
If you want to do appetizers:
Andouille sausage (most grocery stores and Costcos carry these). Slice them and serve with toothpicks. Dip in Creole Mustard (also in most groveries) if you like.
Pickled Okra …you can make it now if you know how to can. I use Emeril’s recipe.
Mini Nackitoches (Sp?) meat pies (Find recipes and mail-order elsewhere on the site after someone corrects my spelling)
I will assume a shrimp boil would be too difficult, unless you know someone.
For a buffet:
1. a fried turkey would be good if you can order a couple. If not, brisket or chicken is perfectly acceptable.
2. One gumbo (seafood, or ya-ya, or Z’herbes if you have vegetarians)
4. Red beans OR Mac and cheese
5. Corn bread
6. Coleslaw or potato salad or greens or okra
7. Pecan tassies (Mini pecan pies) or bread pudding
I usually have 100-200 people at my parties, and have made more elaborate menus than this. But I have found it is just too hard to co-ordinate and people get overwhelmed when there are too many options.
If you e-mail me, I will burn you a few disks of New Orleans music, and maybe send you some other stuff.
I will post my favorite sites for cheapest beads, etc, when I get home to my own computer. If you want any recipes, let me know and I’ll post them.