It would be so divine to invite über foodie Tim Mulligan into your kitchen or lounge to toss a memorable dinner party. But in lieu of that happening, it's best to nab his latest cookbook, “A Perfect Ten Party Edition.”
Mulligan’s latest project arrives after his first cookbook, “A Perfect Ten,” generated plenty of buzz last year. The new endeavor features go-to recipes for seven different kinds of parties. Weekend brunch, anyone? You’ll find some great tips on that here. Not to be left out: birthday bashes, happy hours, pool parties, awards shows, holiday gatherings, and even baby and engagement showers.
“I’ve been cooking for years, and after 'The Perfect Ten' came out and social media took off, I thought it was a good time to do a second book,” Mulligan said. “So, I leaned into another passion of mine, which is cooking, but also the organizing and throwing of fun, amazing parties. I've been doing this as long as I can remember, and I planned parties for people's families and themselves. I love getting people together and having a good time.”
For “A Perfect Ten Party Edition,” Mulligan stirred things up creatively. Rather than seven meal periods, a theme he explored in his previous book, he decided to showcase seven types of parties. Each party description includes a top 10 menu list of everything from cocktails and appetizers to salads and main courses. Desserts, too.
“It's like a choose-your-own-party adventure of each of the party menus,” Mulligan said. “You just kind of pick and choose what you want, and I think it will result in a great party.”
Mulligan, who resides in Palm Springs, is a self-taught home cook. The inspiration to create interesting meals began at an early age, when he often found himself cooking meals for his family. That passion blossomed, but it would be many years later before Mulligan decided to create a cookbook.
Prior to his success with “A Perfect Ten,” he wrote a best-selling leadership book called “Roar: How To Build a Resilient Organization the World Famous San Diego Zoo Way,” drawing from his inspiration working there. These days, Mulligan is the Chief HR Officer for the L.A.-based BENlabs. In between, his excitement for cooking thrives in the form of a popular blog and now, two cookbooks.
One of the more intriguing things featured in “A Perfect Ten Party Edition” is a Palm Springs-inspired happy hour. Break out the drink glasses.
“Now that I live in Palm Springs, one of the parties in the book had to be a happy hour,” he said. “You know, living in Palm Springs, there's always a happy hour, and I do a lot of those at my house. It works, especially because we have the great weather, and we go outside.”
The Pool Party and Outside Brunch offerings should generate interest, too.
“Those are some of the parties I have honed in my years in Palm Springs,” he added. Curiously, Mulligan also was savvy with how he decided to write the book.
“I decided to have fun with it, and actually throw parties,” he explained. “I threw seven parties, and I took pictures of each one. Then I tested the menu out with the group. Besides the drinks and the food, I also included some sample activities and fun games for each party. So, I practice what I preach.”
Mulligan hosted the parties over the course of a year. He points out the "Palm Springs Pool Party" as one of his favorites in the book. “There's nothing better than fun, drinks, food,” he said. “And I curate a big playlist and make sure I set up a good sound system outside.”
The offerings include healthy and delicious turkey sliders, grilled chicken, inventive side dishes, and other spins on barbecued food. The Hawaiian-style macaroni salad was a hit. Poolside cocktails and desert options come along for the creative ride as well.
“I didn't do cocktails in my first cookbook, but with this one, I really think any of your parties will stand out when you have a good signature cocktail,” Mulligan says. “I don't want to be mixing individual drinks or having people pout their own really. So, for all my parties, I have two cocktails, and they're easy to prepare because I can put them in a pitcher.”
His Strawberry Bubblies creation includes sliced strawberries infused with sugar. The sweetened strawberries go well with prosecco, topped off with some mint. Other cocktail standouts in the book include: Sublime Sangria (boozy and not boozy), Hemmingway Daiquiris, and Lemon Chiffon Punch.
On the food side, relish these: Cubano Tots, Mini Sausage Corn Pups, Fluffy Green Onion Could Eggs, Tasty Turkey Picadillo Cups, and many others.
“Cooking can be stressful for people,” Mulligan says. “I try to put a really positive spin on it, and just let people know that with a little bit of planning, you can make everything in the cookbook. It’s stuff you can make in advance or during the day. So, when people show up, everything's on the table and you can have as much fun as everybody else.
“A great takeaway from the book is that you do not need to be a professional party planner, and you do not need to call a catering company,” he added. “You can spend some time in advance throwing some easy food together and using these activities, and cocktails and drinks I’ve selected. Throwing a party can be a breeze.”
Learn more about Tim Mulligan at aperfect10cookbook.com.
Greg Archer’s features on the entertainment industry have appeared in the USA Today Network, MovieWeb, The Advocate, Palm Springs Life, and other media outlets. His memoir, "Grace Revealed," chronicles his Polish family's odyssey during World War II. gregarcher.com.
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Palm Springs author Tim Mulligan’s new book is a festive treat