One pretty great thing about doing events is that occasionally you come across some pretty fantastic houses, where you just know they’re going to have a pretty fantastic party. This weekend we did a Caribbean themed 50th birthday party for this couple in the Palisades. The house was fully decorated when we got there, complete with a place for their favorite Cuban band. It already looked like a lot of fun, even without anyone there yet.

Their bar was Caribe themed, serving Red Stripe, Margaritas, Mojitos and Mai Tais.

Complete with adorable fruit skewers

 And for dessert, my personal favorite the chocolate fountain! In this case it was dark chocolate, which is vegan and delicious.

The birthday boy’s parents, indulging..

As most of you know we don’t always get to do Plant Based Parties. To make up for it, we like to slip in plant based foods whenever we can. The dishes are always a big hit, among carnivores and herbivores alike. As long as you don’t use the word “vegan,” they don’t know what hit them. We had a panini press station and the Balsamic Fig Preserve on Pumpernickel was a real crowd-pleaser. Jennie prepared the jam a few days before the party and it was perfect! Here it is! Couple it with crostini, polenta bites, or toast and people will love you too.

Fig Balsamic Jam
(adapted from Ad Hoc)

1 lb. dried figs, roughly chopped
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Place the figs, sugar, balsamic and water in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Once it comes to a bubbling simmer, reduce the heat to low, add the sachet and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the figs have absorbed most of the cooking liquid.

Wait for it to cool down a bit and use a blender or food processor to puree the jam, for less than a minute so it retains some chunkiness.

Stir in the lemon juice and let cool completely to room temperature. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. It can last for a month or so, but my guess is you’ll probably eat it faster than that.