I'm Getting a Lot Better At This Whole Dinner Party Thing.

September 7, 2008

I didn't just start or anything. I've been cooking and having people over since I first moved out on my own years ago. But entertaining with kids in the picture is a different story (for me, anyway). I used to spend all day (or more, sometimes) getting ready for a dinner party. Creating the menu, shopping at multiple stores for the best ingredients, going all out in the preparations. Then I had C-Man and that whole system went out the door. Now, I try to majorly simplify things: shop at one store, cook a couple of things ahead of time, "assemble" a couple of dishes (Barefoot Contessa style), and minimize clean-up. This goes against my cooking style in all regards.

But. Last night we had a great little dinner party. One of the best, I might add, since kids first landed in the picture. First, and perhaps most importantly, C-Man went to my parents house for the night. Critical. As for the food, here's what we did...

B's good friend Chris (who happened to go to culinary school a couple of years ago -- after his legal career, no less) and his wife Emily (both in town from the East Coast) were the guests. B told me a few days ago that they were going to bring some very, very, very nice wine. So nice, in fact, that I almost called the whole thing off. The pressure was too great to create food that would be worthy. But then I remembered I really, really, really wanted to drink that wine, so I stepped up to the plate.

We started with some grilled prosciutto-wrapped figs (home grown) with a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar (the good stuff brought back many years ago from Modena).... we also had a few oil-cured olives and some macadamia nuts. We drank a couple of bottles of champagne too, of course.

For dinner...and the wine (an '82 Opus One, if you care about this sort of thing), we had Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Herbs , B's favorite polenta with mascarpone, rosemary and black pepper, and a simple tomato salad (from the garden). We finished with Dark Chocolate Espresso Pots de Creme. Everything turned out great, clean-up was minimal and I didn't stress out once during the whole thing. Like I said, I'm getting so much better at this. We finished the night in the pool. One of the best nights at the house yet. I'm ready to have another.

Photo from Gourmet. (I completely forgot to take any of my own pictures!)


  1. Sounds like a great party. I've never prepared a dinner party without children under foot. I can only imagine how nice that would be.

    We have a bottle of Opus One in our wine fridge that we are saving for a special evening.

  2. 180/360: I'de be happy to help you with that bottle!

  3. very impressive Jora! what a great idea to send c-man for an overnight.

  4. Your polenta sounds amazing, sometime you need to share that one with us.


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