“Extra” threw a surprise birthday party for Tanika Ray on the set, and it was a day to remember with signature cocktails, amazing food and so much more.
The party’s organizer, Lara Shriftman, shared all of her secrets with us, and now we’re telling you how to throw an amazing party for all of your friends.
Create your own signature cocktails and give it a name. Kahlua was used to create Tanika’s Razberi Skinny White Russian. You should always try to make your signature cocktail prior to the party so you aren’t rushing at the last minute.
Here’s how to make Tanika’s Razberi Skinny White Russian:
2 parts Kahlua
1 part Stoli Razberri Vodka
Add skim or soy milk
Pour over ice
Garnish with Raspberries
Instead of cooking, opt for ordering in food for your party. There is a California Pizza Kitchen everywhere, and everyone loves it. For Tanika’s party, we served a variety of pizzas cut into bite-size pieces, salad and appetizers.
Learn how to make CPK’s Spinach Artichoke Dip:
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup diced white or yellow onion (1/8 inch dice)
1 ½ tablespoons minced garlic
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons dehydrated chicken stock base or crumbled bouillon cubes
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup sour cream
12 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, wrung out by hand, and coarsely chopped
6 ounces canned artichoke bottoms, drained and cut into ¼ inch slices
1 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
¾ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Blue and white corn tortilla chips
• In a large saucepan, warm olive oil and butter together over medium heat. When butter has melted, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently and stopping before onion and garlic brown.
• Sprinkle flour and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until mixture turns a golden blond color, 10 to 15 minutes. Then, whisking continuously, slowly pour in stock until it is smoothly incorporated. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in cream. Let it return to a simmer. Remove from heat, add Parmesan, chicken base or bouillon cubes, lemon juice, and sugar, and stir until thoroughly blended.
• Add sour cream, spinach, artichoke bottoms, Monterey Jack cheese, and Tabasco sauce, and stir until ingredients are thoroughly combined and cheese has melted. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately, accompanied by blue and white corn tortilla chips.
- Recipe excerpted from Party Confidential, courtesy of California Pizza Kitchen
Lara also shared with us her 10 no-fail party tips:
1. Over invite -- Invite five extra people for every 20 guests.
2. On the list -- Expand your social circle by browsing your e-mail list and phone book, and ask your best friends and coworkers to invite friends and acquaintances.
3. Money matters -- Decide what is most important to you.
4. Where it’s at -- Pick a fabulous location that people will love, such as an old classic, a hot new trendy bar or an amazing home.
5. Timing is everything -- Avoid having a long time frame or you will offset the flow of guests.
6. Thirst quenchers -- Be sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for the designated drivers, mamas-to-be and others who aren’t in the imbibing frame of mind.
7. Greet guests with a cocktail -- We always station a number of servers at the entrance with a tray of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
8. Go mini! -- Maximize comfort by passing bite-sized hors d’oeuvres like mini-hamburgers, sushi and tiny sandwiches.
9. Salty ‘n’ Sweet -- A party is not the place to be diet conscious, so give your guests the chance to splurge.
10. Dress rehearsal -- A week before the party, do a run-through so you have plenty of time to solve any unexpected problems.