3 years later the landscape looks completely different. All of the empty lots now house shiny new structures and there is one empty lot left on the street where new construction is starting as I type this. In the past few years our block has gained many new neighbors and a flurry of activity.
Also Not My Porch
I know I have mentioned it here before, but it is important to reiterate in this story that Forrest is super outgoing and friendly. He is the first to introduce himself to all the new neighbors, switch cell phone numbers for emergency purposes, and offer to lend a tool to a handy neighbor in need. He loves outside and spends a lot of time outdoors working on our house or sprucing our lawn/garden. It is safe to say that he knows all the new neighbors on a first name basis. On the other hand..... I don't really like the heat, I hate bugs, and garden work isn't my idea of a good time so I am not outside as often and haven't had the chance to get friendly with the fresh blood on our block. So I started to play around with the idea of a block party or a progressive dinner party as a chance for everyone to get to meet and mingle.
Definitely Not My Porch
Obviously I love the idea of a progressive dinner party and would welcome the opportunity to cook a meal for a big group of people and use all of my serving dishes and such, but I know not everyone shares my love of cooking and entertaining. I figured a progressive dinner party might be better for a smaller group and participation could potentially be low since it is a bit more involved and would require a larger investment. It was the weekend of Jazz Fest in New Orleans when I started coming up with this idea, so I had festivals on my mind. I have heard of Porch Parties before and people in the South love to mingle on their porches so putting those two ideas together I decided we would organize a Porch Fest on our block. I asked my talented friend Melanie to design us an invite, and she totally ran with the idea and came up with this super cute invitation. Thanks, Mel!
Then I searched the net for some cocktail ideas and settled on this fittingly named "Front Porch Lemonade" from Honest Cooking as our signature cocktail.
I plan to serve it in a beverage dispenser on a cute display like the one below. I saw this on Pinterest ages ago and don't know the original source, so please let me know if you do so I can credit appropriately.
All I need now is some ideas for an hor d'oeuvres that doesn't need to stay hot since it will sit on the porch for a few hours in the New Orleans heat and also something that is single serve in order to make it easy for people to take "one" and go. So what is a good outside food that could be my signature item to serve on my porch?