Don’t hold back on creating a delightfully decadent ambience for this get-together. Throughout the room, use an armful of puffy pillows and baskets of soft throw blankets to spoil your guests in luxurious comfort. Break out the lace, fine china, your shining silverware, and some weighty crystal glassware. If you don’t have sets of your own, check out your local thrift store for special, sparkly finds.
To bring the fire element into our party, I collected all the clear glass jars around my house that I could find and set a votive candle in each one. All lit up, this collection of flickering flames will bring a warm and bright beauty to the room. Still missing the actual crackle from a fire? You can get the fireplace experience through the internet, a phone app, and more.
Think, for a moment, of the foods you would normally find at a backyard BBQ. For me, this means hot dogs, chips, and fruit and veggie salads. Of course, the party wouldn’t be complete without s’mores. For beverages, we’d probably find cold beer and, later in the night, hot cocoa. Let’s get creative and turn these foods into inspired, fine-dining delights.
Here is my “couture” twist on the campfire cookout. You’ll find this menu is very easy to assemble and serve.
- Spinach & Garlic Chicken Sausage with Dijon on Toast
- Endive with Spicy Cream Cheese & Garlic Spread
- Melon & Mint Mini Skewers
- Salt & Pepper Potato Chips
- S’mores Frozen Pie with Chili Chocolate
- Hot Tea Latte
- Black Velvet Cocktail (Stout Beer + Sparkling Wine)
To make the sausage and toast, use two to three sausages, sliced down the middle and then cut in half again to create four sections. Pan-fry the sausage on both sides until browned. Toast two to three pieces of white toast, then cut off the crusts and cut into quarters. Spread each with Dijon mustard and garnish with a spinach leaf. Place one of the fried sausage pieces on each section of prepared toast. Arrange your finished appetizers on a plate.
Endive is a great little vegetable to use with many different toppings. I really liked this recipe for my spicy cream cheese filling; I recently made the stuffed mushroom appetizer and thought the filling was really tasty, so I made extra to keep around as a spread. For another delicious side dish, you might want to try this recipe for Almond Crusted Cauliflower. It’s so simple to make and requires just a few ingredients.
I decided to go with a tea latte instead of hot cocoa for my inside “campfire” party. If you do the same, you might try putting your latte over ice and topping it with whipped cream. Feeling extra sassy? Add a splash of bourbon.
Because we’re playing with a theme about opposites -- fancy versus outdoorsy -- I thought I’d apply that to my s’mores concept, too. Instead of baking my chocolate-graham-cracker-marshmallow treat, I went with a frozen option.
Frozen S’mores Pie
- 1 chocolate bar, chopped (1.55 ounce)
- 6 large marshmallows, cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup milk
- 4 ounces frozen whipped topping (defrosted)
- 4 – 5 individual-size store-bought graham cracker pie crusts
- Optional garnish: chili chocolate and mint leaves
Put chocolate, marshmallows, and milk in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl.
Heat in microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. Stir until thoroughly combined.
Add defrosted whipped topping, and stir again until mixed.
Pour mixture into pie crusts and freeze. When set, remove and, if desired, garnish each pie with a mint leaf and one piece of chili chocolate (chocolate made with chili spice).
The trickiest part of the entire menu was the Black Velvet cocktail. When made correctly, it will produce a beautiful two-layered effect. The directions seemed easy enough: fill a champagne glass half-full with white sparkling wine and top it with stout beer. Well, I followed those directions exactly and my cocktail came out all black. There was no separation at all! I almost decided to take it off my menu but, to my surprise, it was delicious. If you can manage the art of layering liquids, you will rule this recipe and totally impress your guests.
Now, if you have a backyard and maybe even a fire pit to gather around, bravo! You can set up this party outside; just transfer your pillows, blankets, and fine dinnerware to the out-of-doors and you’ll have a fun and surprising décor twist for your guests to enjoy.
Whether you’re enjoying an actual crackling fire or experiencing one through the screen of your computer, your guests will be impressed with your clever interpretation and up-design of the backyard campfire experience. Enjoy some laughs and quality time together, and indulge in a little campfire couture!