When I'm organizing a dinner party, I like to plan the menu and decor around a central theme. Whether the theme is an event-focused celebration like an Oscar party, or menu-focused and features various soups and grilled cheese sandwiches, I think it gives the party something extra and makes the evening memorable for your guests.
We have friends visiting from out-of-town in a few weeks who have never been to the Chesapeake. In addition to showing them the "best of" the area -- crabcakes, historic Annapolis, the U.S. Naval Academy -- I thought it would be nice to cook an authentic Chesapeake meal. Here are some ideas I've compiled for the menu, showcasing some of the ingredients for which the Chesapeake is best known and even some historic recipes from the region:
Crab Dip with toasted baguette rounds
Mini Crabcakes with aioli (these crabcakes are baked, not fried, so it's a great recipe for serving a larger crowd)
Crudite Platter (something on the lighter side to break up the heavy appetizers)
Cream of Oyster Stew
Herb Crusted Rockfish
Maryland Beaten Biscuits
Old Bay Potato Salad
Sweet Eastern Shore Corn
Smith Island Cake
I want to create a simple and casual coastal tablescape with blue hydrangeas, a white tablecloth, red accents and candlelit lanterns for ambience. I found these great crab napkins and place cards which tie in perfectly with the Chesapeake theme.
I thought it would be cute to set each place with a mini bushel basket filled with Old Bay seasoning, Berger cookies (yum), and handwritten recipe cards for guests to take home.
What are some of the things you love about the region that could be incorporated into a Chesapeake-theme dinner party? I'd love to hear your ideas!