by David Burtka
106 killer recipes, 16 creative party themes, and 250 gorgeous photos--plus playlists and easy planning tips--make LIFE IS A PARTY the indispensable cookbook and guide for home cooks.
Chef, actor, and entertaining authority David Burtka knows that every day can be a party. Over a lifetime of throwing epic gatherings, the Cordon Bleu-trained Burtka has perfected the formula for creating easy and perfect get-togethers at home. Now, in the pages of his debut cookbook, he's sharing all of his secrets and an intimate look into the lives of one of Hollywood's favorite families. Everything you need to throw a memorable party, or to make a delicious weeknight meal, can be found right here.
Whether your event and budget are modest or you're going all-out, and whether the guest list is an intimate crew or it's a blowout bash, David's sixteen party themes-from cozy game nights at home to elegant New Year's fêtes-are built around doable, show-stopping menus that take the guesswork out of high-impact hosting. Complete with endless and fun ways to mix-and-match dishes, create stunning decor, prep ahead, and get guests involved, David helps you put all the elements in place to make every party a success without ever losing your cool.
At the heart of the book are David's amazing recipes, including delicious twists on comfort classics like Corn Cakes with Bacon Jam, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, and Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. And you don't need to wait for a party to try recipes like Ham, Egg, and Cheese Calzones; Mint Pesto Pasta; and Thyme and Gruyère Popovers. Never one to miss the opportunity to toast friends and family, David also shows you how to make delicious cocktails for a crowd: think Mojito Slushies, Charred Peach and Plum Sangria, and Cucumber-Lime Spritzers. So raise a glass and get cooking! Because there's no better time than now to make your life a party.
SERVES 6 TO 8 (makes about 6 cups)
Prep Time: 25 minutes | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 4 hours to 6 hours 30 minutes
(includes refrigeration time)
There are no rules in this dish—the only given is that it’s healthy, clean, and refreshing. If you want to add red peppers instead of the jalapeños, go for it!
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1-1/4 cups)
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (from 6 to 8 limes)
- 1 jalapeño, seeded (if you want less heat) and minced
- 1 garlic clove, finely grated on a Microplane
- Kosher salt
- 1 pound skinless red snapper fillets, cut into 1/3-inch dice
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 1 pound (16 to 20) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 English cucumber, skin peeled into stripes, seeded, and finely diced (about 2 cups)
- 4 small Roma (plum) tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Homemade Tortilla Chips (recipe follows)
1. In a large glass bowl, stir together the red onion, lime juice, jalapeño, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the snapper and cilantro and stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate until the fish is opaque and just “cooked” through, at least
4 hours but no more than 6 hours (in ceviche the citric acid in the lime juice breaks down, or denatures, the fish in a way similar to cooking with heat).
2. Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Stir the shrimp into the boiling water, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand for 2 minutes. Drain the shrimp, then place them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and freeze until the shrimp are cool to the touch, about 10 minutes (this stops them from overcooking). Cut the cooled shrimp into 1/3-inch pieces and transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. When ready to serve, gently stir the shrimp, cucumber, tomatoes, and olive oil into the snapper mixture. Taste and season with additional salt. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.