April 2006 AW cover woman Quincy Adams Erickson shares her secrets for throwing a memorable cocktail party.
After decades of catering Austin’s premier cocktail and dinner parties, Chef Quincy Adams Erickson, owner of Fete Accompli, takes great pleasure in delighting guests and making their events memorable.
“When you do something for a living, you want to have fun,” Adams Erickson says. “Sometimes we laugh so hard we can’t even stand up— me, my team and the guests.”
Adams Erickson’s joy for cooking and love for her clients have earned her wide praise, including being named The Austin Chronicle’s 2008 Best Female Chef Community Asset. She’s also been included multiple times on the Austin American-Statesman Fortunate 500 list.
Fete Accompli’s stand at the Sustainable Food Center Farmers Market downtown has also merited repeated accolades for its flavored hot chocolates and refreshing summer fruit drinks. The market stand gives Adams Erickson the perfect venue for trying new things, and Fete Accompli fans can expect to see new product lines rolling out this fall.
“I’ve never stopped experimenting,” Adams Erickson says. “I love that part of the business.”
Quincy Adams Erickson’s Tips for a Successful Cocktail Party
Look at your overall menu and make sure you only have a few things you have to assemble at the last minute. Little hors d’oeuvres require assembly. When we do an event, we make sure we have three to four items that require very little assembly and a few more items that require more labor.
Hire someone to help you. I had 25 family members over for barbecue that we picked up, but made the mistake of serving a cocktail that required a lot of effort. I ended up making basil-lime refrescos all night. Hire a bartender or someone to help serve or clean up. It’s worth spending an extra $100 to have someone help you so that you can spend time with your guests.
Look at your color palette with your menu. People eat with their eyes first and if there is color, they are more likely to eat it. You have to have color. Instead of a plain flour blini, make a sweet-potato blini to add orange to the plate. You want to have things that pop with color.
Always give people vegetables, even if there are no vegetarian or vegan guests. Even though it is a cocktail party, you want it to be a balanced meal.
For more information, visit fetetexas.com.
Three Tasty Treats Perfect for Your Next Soiree
Turkey Albondigas With Chipotle Crema
The equipment needed includes a stainlesssteel mixing bowl, a food processor, a half-sheet pan, a 1- to 1.5-inch scoop and a sauce pan.
3 pounds ground turkey
1.5 cup panko crumbs
4 garlic cloves
1 large white onion, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons cumin, toasted
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups fresh organic corn kernels
2 cups green pepper, diced
Using the “S” blade on the food processor, process the onions and garlic until they’re cut into a small dice. Add every ingredient to the bowl and mix completely with your hands. Fry a small amount of the meat mixture in a skillet. Taste the seasoning and re-season if needed. (You can do this many times until you feel you have the flavor that you want.) Use a 1-inch or 1.5-inch scoop to make the meatballs. Scoop them out onto a halfsheet pan, placing them side by side.
Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Don’t overcook the meatballs, as they will get hard.
Hold until ready to serve.
Chipotle Crema Sauce
2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
2 cups organic cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cotija cheese, grated
Cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
In a food processor or blender, mix the chipotle with adobo sauce with the tomato puree. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and add the cream. Heat over low heat and add the salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the warm meatballs. Garnish with cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.
Note: The albondigas and the sauce can be made days ahead and reheated on the day of the party.
Passion Fruit Mousse With Kiwi
The equipment needed includes a bain-marie (a stainless-steel bowl that fits into a sauce pan without the stainless-steel bowl touching the bottom of the sauce pan) to create a hot-water bath, a whisk, a plastic spatula, a cutting board, a peeler, a paring knife, a 1.5-inch scoop, a small spoon and a zester.
Passion Fruit Curd
1 cup frozen passion-fruit concentrate, available from Hardie’s Produce Supply
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large whole eggs
3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt
8 ounces butter, cut into eight pieces
Mix the sugar and the passion-fruit concentrate together in a large stainless-steel metal bowl. Whisk in the eggs very quickly. Add a pinch of salt. Place this mixture in the bain-marie and heat the water in the sauce pan to boiling. Using a plastic spatula, stir the mixture until it thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly and whisk in the butter until it is completely incorporated. Seal the top of a bowl and let it cool completely in the refrigerator. This mixture can be kept refrigerated for one week or frozen for three months.
Passion Fruit Mousse With Kiwi
Makes 15 to 25 dessert shots, depending on the size of the small dessert glasses
1 cup passion fruit curd
1 cup cream, whipped until holding peak
Zest of one orange
2 kiwis, diced
Fold the passion-fruit curd into the whipped cream. Hold in the refrigerator. Using a scoop, carefully fill the shot glass or a tiny bowl with the mousse. Using the tip of the spoon, place the diced kiwi on one side of the mousse. Place a pinch of the orange zest on top of the kiwi. Serve with a small spoon.
Note: The curd can be made long in advance of the party. The mousse should be made on the day of the party and the kiwi should be cut up on the day of the party
Cucumber Arugula and Mint Lemonade
Makes 1 gallon
The equipment needed is a really good blender.
1 medium-sized cucumber (without the wax coating)
2 handfuls baby arugula
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Place everything in a good blender and blend until you cannot see any green spots in the liquid. Add ice-cold water to make a total of 1 gallon of liquid. Serve over ice.
Note: This recipe needs to be made on the day of the event. Hold cold.