Tis the Season to Eat

We have been doing and are going to be doing a serious amount of entertaining this season.  We really do enjoy it.  Love having people over, love cooking, love the whole vibe of people enjoying themselves in the comfort of our home.  I know a lot of people that would find that incredibly stressful but we welcome it. 

The hardest part about planning a dinner party is 2 things.  One, what is the menu and 2, who of your friends will mix well together.  Most important, keep the alcohol flowing. 

Two weeks ago we have a sit down dinner party for 18.  It was really great.  I generally ask people in advance if there are any dislikes, allergies etc. so there are no problems at dins.  I recall my parents having a guy over for dinner and when they sat down he told my Mom he didn’t eat meat so she ended up making him an omelet.  She was not a happy camper. 

For starters at the cocktail hour, I really serve very little so that the appetite is roaring for dins.  We served cheese sticks and rosemary walnuts.  They are easy to make and people eat them like drinking water. 

Dinner started out with a mushroom tart over a bed of baby arugula with a light french vinegarette.  Main course was pan fried red snapper coated in a mixture of dried herbs served over rice with a warm brown butter balsamic sauce.  Dessert, my favorite, was a chocolate cream layer cake with lemon cookies and cranberry nut biscotti on the side.  The good news is everything is easily prepared in advance so u can really enjoy your own bash.

This week, we had 20 people over for a sit down dinner for our kids school.  I wanted to make something easy b/c although I love to cook, it wasn’t my personal friends which is more a labor of love. 

My friend had recently served Chicken Marbella and then I read in Elle magazine about a dinner party that the woman had also served Chicken Marbella.  I pulled out my well worn Silver Palette cookbook and looked up the recipe.  I doctored it a bit b/c we are an anti-garlic household.  I know, hard to believe but we are.  It is the perfect large crowd meal.  It can be served at room temperature.  It literally took me about 10 minutes to prepare the day before while it marinated in the refrigerator over night.  Just stick in the oven before dins and u are ready to go.  I served that alongside a green salad with fennel, shaved parm and walnuts.  Dessert was also a classic and easy.  Individual chocolate mousse with whipped cream and shaved chocolate on the top served along side with peanut butter cookies and chocolate peanut butter bits that are like popping a reese’s peanut butter cup in your mouth. 

Next week, 17 for Thanksgiving.  But, we are all sharing a bit in the cooking.   I can hardly wait!