White Elephant 2017

This past weekend was our 19th annual White Elephant party – what a fun, fun time we had! As always, I’m posting to provide a list of the menu we served, so that we can refer back to it as needed in the future. We had a couple duplicates from last year, as well as our standard bruschetta, but we also made a lot of new stuff:

1) Shrimp & chorizo – GLUTEN FREE. This one is really easy and will definitely be back next year. Found on Pinterest, you literally just marinate some shrimp for a while, then wrap one around a slice of chorizo, use a toothpick to hold them together, and bake them until the shrimp is pink and cooked through. Easily one of the most successful things were served all night.
2. Tomato & pepper skewers – GLUTEN FREE. Another easy one. A cherry tomato, a slice of green pepper, and a small ball of mozzarella cheese. Put them on the fancy toothpick and VOILA – an easy, breezy finger food.
3. Chicken cordon bleu bites – GLUTEN FREE. I think this is another one from Pinterest, and one that was on the easy side to make, although time-consuming since you have the bread (we used gluten-free bread crumbs) and fry the chicken in advance. But with the mustard/mayo dipping sauce on the side, we heard a lot of “mmmmmm”s as people tried this one.
4. Salmon meatballs with avocado sauce – GLUTEN FREE. These were simple to make, but we had an issue with the avocado sauce sometimes getting stuck in our squeeze bottle, making the avocado look more like a blob versus a fancy drizzle on the meatballs, which we served in our Chinese soup spoons. But they tasted delicious.
5. Bacon-wrapped meatloaf with potato and gochujang sauce – GLUTEN FREE. This one was a bit labor intensive, but so worth it once that gochujang sauce kicked in. The only negative was that I served it late in the evening when a lot of people were already full, and these were at least 2-3 bites each. Next year (because it IS coming back) we’ll serve it during the first round of food versus the 5th or 6th.
6. Brie & bacon rolls – another easy one. Crescent rolls with cooked bacon, a slice of brie cheese and some brown sugar. Bake until golden brown. I’m not a brie fan and even I liked this one!
7. Havarti cheese and crab stuffed mushrooms – GLUTEN FREE. We always serve stuffed mushrooms, and this was this year’s version. I think they went over well – I don’t recall seeing any left after the tray made the rounds around the guests.
8. Crab rangoon cups – I tested this recipe as a dip at book club and it was a hit, so for the party we put it in fillo cups. I know it tasted delicious when we baked up the leftovers after prepping the cups, so I’m sure it was delicious in the cups as well.
9. Sweet & sour chicken – GLUTEN FREE. Exactly as it sounds, this was tasty and is definitely one I’ll make again. None left at the end of the night.
10. Guacamole bites with chicken – GLUTEN FREE. We learned a lesson the hard way on these. A couple months ago Denis made these for my book club and they were OUTSTANDING. Raves all around. This weekend we put them together a few hours before the party and by the time we served them, the Tostito Scoop chips were soggy. It turned what would have otherwise been an outstanding bite of food into something less than stellar. If we do this one again, we’ll assemble AT the party versus a few hours before.

All in all it was a great party and we had a lot of first timers that were shocked by the amount of food. We also wowed them with a very fun White Elephant game that after the first few rounds consisted of a LOT of gift-stealing before it finally came to an end.

The only real negative to the night was the fact that Dobby the Dog was locked up in our room all night and he was freaking out. The result is that when we went to let him out after the party ended, we discovered he had ripped up all of the carpet and padding around the door to our room – it was shredded and ripped to shreds. What a mess! Next year we’ll either board him for the night or see if we can get him some sleeping meds for the evening. We can’t crate him since he is extremely anxious and doesn’t like small spaces.

Next year is the 20th year hosting and we’re already trying to figure out what we’ll do – we want to make it the biggest and best ever, so we’re considering renting our neighborhood’s clubhouse for the night. This way there will be plenty of parking, plenty of room to mingle, and we won’t have to worry about making a plan for Dobby.

Only a year to plan – better get started!

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