“Salt-n-Pepa’s here and we’re in effect/Want you to push it, babe”

Ok, I was going to let go of the Salt-n-Pepa thing, but how perfect is “Push It” for a post about a baby shower? I’m going to suggest that they play it in the delivery room… This may be why I’m neither a medical doctor nor have I played one on TV. Anyway, yes, our friends are having babies and we’re hosting the shower on Saturday night. I thought I’d review the ramp-up today and share any new recipes I deem blog-worthy next week.

At the behest of the sassy-britches mother-to-be, this is going to be a co-ed, evening shower with no silly games. Or, more accurately, a cocktail party with baby gifts. Having thrown both this kind and the more traditional girly brunch-type shower I find both have their merits, though the cocktail party does have some additional benefits.

First, it enfranchises the menfolk, which I think is a good thing. They’re going to be changing diapers, too, so having them at the shower is a nice way of easing them into the whole parenthood thing. Secondly, the shower is probably one of the last hurrahs of unencumbered adulthood… why blow it on brunch when you can have a cocktail party?

For this particular party, I’d originally planned out a Greek/Med menu–spanikopita triangles, baked feta, etc–but then I realized that I’d not only done that two weekends in a row, I’d done it for the guests of honor two weekends in a row. NEXT! Given that they’re both Asiaphiles of the first water, I moved further into the East for inspiration.

And, since it’s ridiculously hot right now, I wanted mostly cool (if still spicy) things. Mid-July is NOT the time to be deep frying nibbles for 20 people. And thus, my notional menu follows. (Note to guests, I reserve the right to change things around or punt on things…)

Pan Asian Baby Shower Cocktail Party Menu
(I swear, it only SOUNDS like a total trainwreck)

Chicken satay w/ cucumber sauce
If it’s on a stick, people will love it. End of story. Use thighs, they’re tastier, cheaper, and harder to overcook. I always put them near the Gado Gado, so people can use both sauces if they want.

Gado gado
An Indonesian riff on my beloved salad Nicoise, this is a bunch of blanched veggies, hard-boiled eggs, and shrimp crackers served with a spicy sweet peanut sauce. I plate it up as a crudite spread with the sauce in a big bowl for cocktail parties.

Banh mi bites
If you’ve not heard of this very au courant Vietnamese sandwich–usually with pate, pork, cilantro, pickles and a spicy sauce on a crispy baguette, you’ve not been paying attention to your hipster foodie friends. The flavor combo is amazing, and I’m just going to scale it down to crostini size. We shall see how it goes…

Kimchi dumplings
Yeah, they’re from a bag. But the bag came from HMart, so I don’t want to hear it. They’re fun and spicy and EASY. Add a quick soy-based dipping sauce and we’re good to go on these.

Red Rooster spiced nuts
A Sriracha-laced version of my cocktail nuts, I’m not yet sure if the beloved hot sauce will just be overpowering–not sure what else to add to temper the heat. I’m going to add some candied ginger, I think, and see what else I can do to turn down the temperature.

Sugar cookies
And yes, they’re obnoxiously cute. I did get dinged by my co-hostess for making baking Mama and the babies but not dad. D’oh, gender norms!

Meringue cookies
Sweet and fluffy, not too heavy in the heat. Nor are they dry and gritty like the wads of wall insulation TJ’s sells in the tubs. Ech. I might paint the inside of my pastry bag with streaks of color for some festive flair.

Lemonade bars
I can’t seem to have a party without them. Everybody loves their tartness. Here, I’ll do a double batch–kiwi and blackberry for on-theme colors & flavors.

As for beverages, we’ll have beer, wine, and basic soft drinks (a cola and a clear soda), but we’ll be encouraging guests to try the featured cocktail and mocktail:

Ginger limeade
This’ll keep the guest of honor and other alcohol-free guests happy without delivering an ugly sugar shock. So many mocktails are as sophisticated and over-sugared as Mickey D’s Sweet Tea… A simple syrup infused with ginger and maybe a few peppercorns, plus lots of fresh lime juice, plus sparkling water. Done, and delicious.

Something Boozy in the Punchbowl
I’m thinking a tropical punch or sangria would be the thing. If I could get my hands on any calimansi juice concentrate, I’d be all over it. The Philippino citrus has a great funky bite to it that is the essence of exotic. If not, hmm.. dunno. But I’m going to take thickly sliced pineapple rounds, notch the edges so they look like flowers, and freeze them to use as giant decorative ice cubes. Pizzazz-y!

So, that’s the food side of things. I tend to go easy on the decorations; nice linens, florals, and coordinated paper goods are generally more than enough to make an event feel and look special. I feel strongly that if people like Sandra Lee would spend less time and money on “tablescapes” (barf), they’d have the wherewithall to make REAL FOOD. Hrmph.

Since we’re dealing with a mom-to-be that’d DIE (more accurately: kill me) if we did a pink and blue theme for Lucy and Ricky, I’ve decided that our colors are going to be green and purple–cheery and gender-neutral, FTW. I’ll set the table with a green batik tablecloth I pilfered from one of the fabulous grandmas ages ago, plates (coffee saucers) and platters will be basic white porcelain and clear glass, and accented with white and purple cocktail napkins.

Florals–purple and white–will be picked up at the WF or the U Street Farmers’ Market, or any street vendors I happen upon in my pre-party perigrinations. Much as I bitch about the prices at WF, their flowers are a decent bargain–particularly compared to actual florists–and I do enjoy fussing with them myself.

And that’s the plan, such as it is. I think I’ll let pandora take care of the music, though I may have to make sure that “Push It” gets spun at least once. Let’s see how much of this we manage to accomplish between now and then. Go Team PFruit Catering!