Friday, December 9, 2016

Dinner Party Done Right

Image from Pinterest, via Town and Country Magazine
I love playing hostess, and with a baby at home, inviting friends over for dinner is a great way for us to maintain an active social life. We recently had a small group over on a Sunday night, and the informal get-together was a great way to cap off the weekend.

Here's what we served
  • Charcuterie tray, served while we sipped cocktails and let the food finish cooking
  • Mixed greens with spicy pecans, tart dried cherries, onion, tomato, and balsamic vinaigrette
  • Grilled mustard-rubbed pork chops
  • Baked potatoes with garlic-chive butter, bacon crumbles, and sour cream
  • Grilled asparagus
We kept the menu simple so that we could focus on socializing, and our guests brought the wine and the dessert.  I think everyone left full, happy, and ready for the week ahead. If you're ready to host a dinner party of your own, here are a few tips for pulling it off:
  1. Make it easy. You don't want to be finishing dishes as your guests are arriving- it's stressful and you'll be tied up in the kitchen. Keeping the menu simple and including items that you can make ahead of time will free you up for more fun. 
  2. Let guests contribute. Your guests will ask if they can bring something, so let them! Appetizers, drinks, and dessert are all easy things to delegate. 
  3. Add special touches. Whipping up a compound butter and caramelizing my own spicy pecans were super easy ways to elevate our simple menu. Think about how you can add simple special touches to the meal, or even to your table setting (place cards, napkin rings, etc.). 
  4. Set the table. Dinner feels more formal when it's a sit-down affair rather than a buffet. Set the table before your guests arrive. You don't have to go overboard or use fine china, but make it pretty!
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