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Heather

Dinner Parties

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Indeed was a nice evening. Glad both of you enjoyed the Orange salad.

BTW... this is my first time reading about the "Dinner Party or Parties, rather," topic, and wow!! There is challenge.. Perhaps I should team up with Barbara and do more dinner parties! :)! or some "Tasting Parties"!

Nena

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It has been a long time since I had the stamina to put in the hours in the kitchen for a dinner party. (A year ago I couldn't stand up for more than 15 minutes at a time.) So being able to do a blow-out meal was a testament to the hours of rehab I have put in and a vast improvement in my circumstances.

Dinner for eight:

verduras en escabeche (spicy pickled carrots, celery, cauliflower, young onions, garlic scapes, jalapeños, baby squash, Asian radish, baby golden beets)

guacamole and chips

tres salsas: serrano and roasted tomato; roasted tomatillo and poblano; tomato and red chile adobo

Herencia tequila blanco

Monte Alban mezcal

sopes de lengua (twice-cooked Eco-friendly veal tongue; refried beans; jicama slaw; radishes) in homemade masa boats

herb-brined, cherrywood smoked free range turkey

scratch-made molé negro de Oaxaca

refried beans

saffron rice

semi-homemade tortillas (made with home-ground commercial dried nixtamal)

meyer lemon cheesecake with mulberry marble, whipped cream and mulberry coulis

Carta Blanca

Pacifico

Negra Modelo

Hell or High Watermelon

Selection of fruit brandies and armagnac

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It has been a long time since I had the stamina to put in the hours in the kitchen for a dinner party. (A year ago I couldn't stand up for more than 15 minutes at a time.) So being able to do a blow-out meal was a testament to the hours of rehab I have put in and a vast improvement in my circumstances.

I wouldn't even know where to start putting on a dinner party like this, and I haven't anything near your excuse. Congrats on the rehab and many happy meals to come!

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Did a little something different for last night's dinner party - we called it an "Improvisational Dinner Party." Ground rules: each guest had to provide 3 secret ingredients (one protein, one produce, and one wild card). As the hosts, we provided basic spices/vinegars/oils. Then, after some cocktails and munchies, we all got together in the kitchen and started spitting out ideas. Everyone chipped in - prepping, cooking, cleaning, etc. - and we had nice little breaks between courses to let more ideas flow. Most folks brought pretty tame ingredients, but we wound up with: sausage stuffed mushrooms, sesame seared ahi tuna, bok choi sauteed with pancetta and red pepper flakes, shrimp stir-fry with broccoli and mushrooms, and caramelized bananas with crunchy granola topping and fresh raspberries.

It was great for me as the hostess, because I didn't have to spend hours planning and shopping and prepping - I just bought some beer and wine and was able to actually have fun with my guests. And I figure, everyone hangs out in the kitchen during parties anyway, so why not put them to work? :) I love the fact that I could repeat the concept next week with totally different people and have a totally different experience.

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My fantastic in-laws were visiting recently, which allowed us to have a couple of dinner parties to introduce them to great local friends.

Dinner Party 1:

Roasted red and yellow peppers, feta, marcona almonds, drizzle of olive oil, s&p

Tanqueray Aviations

Beef, cherry tomato, zucchini, and red onion kabobs, using the soy sauce/mustard/oil marinade from the White Dog Cafe cookbook (which is one of, like, two recipes out of that cookbook that I've liked)

Couscous

Atwater baguette

Nectarine-raspberry crumble with vanilla ice cream

Cheeses: Manchego, Valdeon, and something I can't remember

Dinner Party 2:

Martini Thyme: Tanqueray and Chartreuse, garnished with thyme sprigs

Antipasti: Castelvetrano and Kalamata olives, cornichons, marinated mushrooms

Manchego, Valdeon, and two other cheeses I can't remember

Chorizo and oregano-marinated chicken on the grill

Sauteed kale

White beans with garlic and rosemary

Atwater baguette

Vanilla ice cream with homemade strawberry sauce

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Had a little mini dinner party last night - first real entertaining in our new place.

Strawberry thyme lemonade (vodka)

Honeydew cucumber mint cooler (gin)

Various wines

Spicy eggplant dip with Parmesan and pita chips

Lemon roasted chicken

Rosemary roasted tomatoes

Manchego-jalapeño-corn sauté with lime

Then our guests showed us how to make fresh ricotta for dessert! Delicious, with some fresh fruit and honey.

Nothing we made was super fancy, but it was all yummy and enjoyed in good company. That's the key!

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Last Friday I hosted a dinner for my sibs.  My sister was in town at the Washington Hilton for a conference, so I suggested that she come here (a long block away) for dinner, rather than meet at a restaurant. I also invited my brother and SIL.

My sister suffers from gout, so I prepared a menu of things she could eat:

HORS D'OUEVRE

Smoked salmon on pumpernickel with a schmear of low-fat sour cream, minced red onion, and capers

A variety of marinated olives

Prosecco

FIRST COURSE

Roasted butternut squash and carrot soup (from Joanne Weir's blog)

Focaccia

SECOND COURSE

Stuffed trout (from Pierre Franey's Cooking in America)

Sauteed haricots vert with garlic and lemon zest

Two types of German Riesling from Franz Dahm

DESSERT

Creme caramel made with Almond Milk with Toigo Orchards Bourbon peaches,

I'm with Zora on the amount of labor involved in cooking for company. In my case, it also involved sending the rugs out to be cleaned and finally taking care of some chores I have been putting off since we moved into this apartment. I didn't get around to culling my books (have to find a good home for them), but hope to get that done by Christmas. I also had to make things which could be prepared in advance and stored in a refrigerator in another part of the building because my kitchen and refrigerator are so small. It has turned out to be a blessing that I can only seat 6 people at my table. Cooking for more than that would be the death of me.

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New Year's brunch for five:

Coffee and mimosas

Frittate:  sauteed mushroom, shallot, garlic, and Gruyere; smoked salmon and shallot

Baking powder biscuits

Roasted red potatoes

Roasted pears with Dominican vanilla sugar

Toasted walnuts

Yogurt and/or Stilton

Zin Alley port (I know nothing about port, but this was tasty)

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Dinner for four:

Tanqueray Aviations

Calabrese salami, sliced navel oranges, oil-cured olives, and thinly sliced red onion, drizzled with olive oil, S&P

Baked polenta with hot Italian sausage, fresh tomato sauce, and fresh mozzarella

Arugula/spinach salad with Gorgonzola, walnuts, red pear; red wine vinegar and evoo

Trader Joe's rustic pane

Haagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream with amaretti

Talisker Storm

Coffee

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dinner for K., her bf, and a friend visiting from out of town:

at the table out in the yard

a very nice dry chinon rosé from last season

Lyon baguette slices

fresh fava marro

sheepmilk gouda

Cashel blue

capricho de cabra

homemade cultured butter with Maldon salt

homemade membrillo

marinated roasted red peppers

spiced olives

moving indoors as it grew darker:

mache and mesclun salad with lemon vinaigrette

mixed grill:

applewood smoked, charcoal-grilled herb brined chicken thighs with ZQ sauce

hanger steak

spicy Italian sausage

asparagus

2011 Felino malbec

homemade chocolate-orange loaf cake

Trickling Springs salted caramel ice cream

Peet's coffee, Aeropressed

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Well, I hosted Easter dinner again this year. Seriously, if Dame Edna wasn't here to do the dishes, I wouldn't bother.

Noshes:

Bacon stuffed cherry tomatoes. Seriously good and all were eaten.

Mini crab cakes by Phillips from Costco. These had been sitting in my freezer since last year and were seriously good. Served with tartar sauce from Whole Paycheck.

Prosecco and Martinelli's sparkling apple cider were on offer

First course.

Asparagus served with an Avocado dressing, with slices of watermelon radish and garnished with pea shoots (the last two items from the farmers market)

Brazilian Cheese Balls (see the other thread on those).  My guests seemed to really enjoy these.

Dry white wine from Portugal (which was really excellent--this is the second Portuguese wine I have had that is worth seeking out).

Main Course:

Masitas de Puerco served with black beans and rice and Goya's fried plantains. (One of my guests is Puerto Rican and a couple of the others don't like lamb--so there we are).

Dessert:

Rhubarb and Strawberry Custard Pie with whipped cream.

I don't know how other people do this so easily. I started thinking about this weeks ago and have been cooking for two days. Even though I cleaned dishes while I worked, so that by the time everyone arrived there were only the pots and pan I needed at the moment--plus the place settings--there was a mountain of dishes to clean at the end. Thus, my gratitude to Dame Edna who made a point of getting out of the way this weekend. The Easter Bunny brought him a gift. :P

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I don't know how other people do this so easily. I started thinking about this weeks ago and have been cooking for two days. Even though I cleaned dishes while I worked, so that by the time everyone arrived there were only the pots and pan I needed at the moment--plus the place settings--there was a mountain of dishes to clean at the end. Thus, my gratitude to Dame Edna who made a point of getting out of the way this weekend. The Easter Bunny brought him a gift. :P

It's not easy, but it is enjoyable. I'll have to save one of my prep lists for you next time. Thanksgiving runs to 2 pages.

Having a willing dishwasher is definitely a key resource (thanks to Nutty Buddy for doing the dishes last night). I'll never forget one party that I threw where 2 dr members did all of the dish washing including about 30 glasses.

PS - last night was lamb leg marinated in Dolin rouge, rosemary, and garlic; green beans sauteed with scallions, and biscuits. Appetizer was crostini with roasted red pepper and garlic puree. 2003 Edmunds St John San Luis Obisbo County "Bassetti Vineyard"

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When I Am King...

...this will be the State dinner service.

"Calamityware Combines Delicate Porcelin And Monster Attacks"

Calamityware Album On Flickr

8719340639_49aba8aef9_n.jpg

Kind of hard not to like the stick-figure man's hat flying off of his head in his abject state of horror as the (dreaded flying monkeys?) approach. Yet, they seem to be skipping over that first guy on the left, unless that final monkey is planning to take a last-sec poo.  :)

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Two dinner parties, two nights in a row.  While neither meal was difficult and there were repeats, we're not cooking for a while.

Last night:

Eggplant dip

Olive tapenade

Red leaf lettuce and beet salad with homemade dijon vinaigrette

Mayo free warm lemon potato salad

Sauteed spinach with garlic and lemon

Grilled scallions

Flank steak marinated in soy, ginger, scallion

Grilled pineapple topped with grilled blueberries

Tonight:

Eggplant dip

Olive tapenade

Tomato chutney over whipped cream cheese

Mixed greens with dijon vinaigrette

Clams and spaghetti

Strawberry and grilled pineapple fruit salad topped with whipped cream

Homemade rugelach

Chocolate covered marshmallows

Coffee milk

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A housecooling weekend, with visiting relatives--J's two siblings and one spouse staying here and going through stuff in the attic. Friday night I made masa corn cakes with green chile and refried beans. I had planned to grill marinated chicken thighs, but for one reason or another it didn't happen. Saturday night, dinner for nine with a niece and her spouse and a cousin with his spouse added to the group. A challenge, since a lot of our wine glasses are already packed, and my cutlery set is for eight. Still, we made do. Cousin is a genius bread baker, and he brought two loaves of freshly baked levain, which we ate with the appetizer of creamy baked asparagus and aged gouda dip (a modern German dish recently featured in the Post). First course was fresh pea soup made with homemade corn cob stock. One BIL and his daughter are vegetarians, so I accomodated them as much as possible. The levain went well with the soup, too. Green salad followed, while I fired the mixed grill: lamb kebabs marinated with yogurt and fresh mint, hanger steak and pork sausage from Organic Butcher of McLean, and the marinated chicken thighs, and portobello mushrooms for the veg-heads. Mains were accompanied by a wheat berry salad with roasted red pepper, dill, and feta, and roasted haricots verts and asparagus. Dessert was Tunisian blood orange olive oil cake with mixed berries and vanilla whipped cream.

We had muscadet and a Weinbach riesling with the appetizer and first course. One fun feature of the meal on Saturday was the opening of three bottles of 1975 Stonegate Petite Sirah that we recently unearthed from the bottom of the wine closet, to see if they were drinkable. Remarkably, the wine (at least the first 2/3 of each bottle) was clear, ruby-red with no bricking and still full of fruit. very delicious wine. There was a lot of sediment in the bottom 1/3 of each bottle. We also had two bottles of 2000 Edmunds St. John Bassetti Vineyard syrah with the meat.

We all had lunch at Peter Chang's on Sunday, and later in the afternoon opened some other old bottles: 1975 Simi cabernet (blech), 1976 Dehlinger cabernet (delicious), and 1975 Stag's Leap Wine Cellar cabernet (also delicious). I guess the storage wasn't as inadequate as I imagined, and we bought some well-made wine back in the late 70's. All the bottles still had their price tags on them, which ranged from $6.99 to $8.99. Those were the days!

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