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					              asian inspiration
              A taste of the Orient for a perfectly Zen birthday or
              a rehearsal dinner of good fortune.
              egg rolls with sweet and sour sauce*                                               menu countdown

asian menu:
              beef saté skewers with spicy peanut dipping sauce                                  1 week before:
              stir-fried ginger–pineapple chicken                                                • Shop for non-perishables.
              jasmine rice with scallions
                                                                                                 • Buy beverages.
              garlic snow peas and almonds
              mango, coconut, or green tea sorbet **                                             3 days before:
              chocolate-dipped fortune cookies                                                   • Make space in refrigerator
                                                                                                   and freezer.
              * Buy egg rolls from your favorite Chinese restaurant or from the freezer
              sections of larger grocery and club stores. Cut each egg roll in half diagonally   2 days before:
              and serve with store-bought sweet and sour sauce. Allow 1 egg roll and 1 to 2
              ounces of sweet and sour sauce per guest. Serve an all-vegetable egg roll along    • Shop for perishables.
              with the jasmine rice and snow peas for your vegetarian guests.
                                                                                                 1 day before:
              ** Serve your favorite sorbet with this menu, allowing 1/2 cup per guest.          • Set up tables and décor.
              decorating ideas:                                                                  • Assemble and marinate
                                                                                                   beef saté skewers.
              colors. Jade green, mandarin orange,     buffet. Hang several brightly colored
                                                                                                 • Prepare peanut sauce, omitting
              lacquered red, jet black, and teak.      lanterns from the ceiling with silk         the soy sauce and lime juice.
              invitations. Choose a variety            butterflies for accents. Choose
                                                       several delicate orchids instead of       • Chop pineapple and
              of patterned origami paper or                                                        red bell peppers.
              Japanese book-binding paper. Use a       elaborate floral arrangements.
              solid color that coordinates with the    place cards and favors. Pre-plate         • Slice chicken.
              patterned papers for the invitation      the first course and use rice hats as      • Clean snow peas.
              and attach with a rustic twig or a       a fun plate-topper and name-card          • Toast almonds.
              cloisonné pin from an Asian import       holder combined, or make original
              store. Create matching menus using       origami pieces for each guest. Write
                                                                                                 morning of the party:
              the same format.                         names on small pieces of paper and
                                                       slip them part-way into a fortune         • Buy ice.
              table linens. Use raw silk remnants,
              rich jacquards, or bamboo runners        cookie so that the name can still         • Dip fortune cookies
              down long wooden tables, or cover        be read. Buy sets of take-out style         in chocolate.
              folding tables with neutral base         chopsticks from a local Chinese
              colors like chocolate brown or black.    restaurant and write the guests’          1 to 2 hours ahead:
                                                       names on the paper holders. Or buy
              decorations. Fill round or square                                                  • Grill beef saté skewers.
                                                       beautiful, enamel-coated chopsticks
              glass vases with smooth black river                                                • Prepare rice.
                                                       and ceramic or wooden chopstick
              stones, water, and floating candles.
                                                       rests that can double as party
              Accent a piece of driftwood or tree
                                                       favors. Prop name cards in front of       just before serving:
              branch with silk or satin flowers
                                                       miniature Buddhas made of stone or        • Stir-fry chicken.
              attached with floral wire. Place
                                                       jade. Place 4-inch bamboo plants in
              bonsai trees at regular intervals                                                  • Stir-fry snow peas.
                                                       clean baby food jars or small vases.
              along the table. Use any rectangular
                                                       Set name cards in between the             • Stir in the soy sauce and lime
              serving pieces with Zen-inspired
                                                       stalks, and let the guests take home        juice to the peanut sauce.
              shapes. Plant easy-to-grow winter
                                                       their bamboo for good luck.
              grasses in small individual boxes
              (or one long, thin box) and place in     entertainment. Play traditional
              the center of the table or along the     Kyoto music or use a table-top
                                                       fountain for a soothing effect.

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