Possible Dinner Party

1 Oct

MJD and I are likely having friends over for dinner this weekend which has sent me into a tailspin over what to make. I cook a lot, but I tend to make easy, cheap meals that are fine for dinner on a work night, but seem so lame for dinner with friends. I always say I am going to find a few impressive meals to fall back on, but of course I never stick to that!

One fall back is usually a roast chicken, but there’s a chance a vegetarian will be coming over. So, that won’t work. And I like a few pasta dishes that I make, but they are so stressful at the end to throw together.

My friend Andrea recommended a risotto, which seems a little hectic at the end, but could be a good option (except for the fact it will be the first time I make it). But it does look and sound really good! Ugh. Any vegetarian suggestions would be welcome!!

Anyway, while stressing about all of that I also realized I never make dessert, so I’m at a total loss there! I was planning to do some sweet fruit and whipped cream thing, but then I realized berry season is probably over. Right? What’s in season now? Apples?

I saw what looks like a delicious apple turnover at Modern Domestic, but that’s way past my comfort level!

Any thoughts on dessert? I promise to report back on what I decide.

I so wish I was more confident in the cooking/decorating department. Over at Legeytimate Thoughts, there are parties being thrown left and right!

I need to find the Martha Stewart in me…!

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9 Responses to “Possible Dinner Party”

  1. moderndomestic October 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    My standard “I need to do something easy that I can make in advance” vegetarian dinner party item is macaroni and cheese – I am a big fan of Ina Garten’s recipe: (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/mac-and-cheese-recipe2/index.html). You can make it ahead of time and bake it right before people get there – and all you have to do is serve. All you need is a side salad and dinner is served.

    For desserts, if you don’t want to make something that involves cutting individual circles out of pastry (boy did that get old!), what about a rustic apple tart? This one uses frozen puff pastry, and would be a cinch to put together (and, again, you can do it in advance!): http://bit.ly/LIr3Q.

    Figs are in reason too right now – you could roast them and serve them warm with marscarpone and honey.

    I believe that everyone can find their inner Martha Stewart – all it takes is practice.

    Good luck! Let us know how the dinner party goes.

  2. klegeyt October 1, 2009 at 1:50 pm #

    Yay, thanks for the shoutout!

    Here’s what I would recommend for a menu:

    Appetizer – Caprese Tarts (I’ll post that recipe tonight, promise, and you can borrow my tartlette pans if you decide to make it) or Butternut Squash Soup

    Entree – pumpkin tortellini or raviolis in a butter and sage sauce (very seasonal and yummy)

    Dessert – I’m SO not a dessert person either (I’m an eater, not a maker) but you could try an apple pie or apple crumble or a cobbler like I made this weekend. I used a Williams-Sonoma recipe for the cobbler and it was actually pretty simple and delicious. You can use any type of berries that are in season and I think blueberry falls into that category.

    Good luck!!

  3. Lucy October 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    A fruit crumble is always a safe and yummy bet for fall desserts! Barefoot Contessa has a great apple and pear one that is easy and delish.

  4. Mansionmogul October 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    I second the apple dessert notion – apples are amazing right now and a cobbler/crisp/crumble recipe with nice vanilla ice cream would be simple and classic.

    I also love the pasta idea – maybe give it a trial run if you have time, or see if you can assemble the sauce ahead of time.

    It’s a shame you can’t do your roast chicken, that sounds delightful!

    Maybe add some seasonal beer or cider to the party as well?

  5. restaurant refugee October 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm #

    The best risottos are made to order and take at least forty-five minutes of constant attention (sure, there are ways around the time, but cheating is always revealed on the palate) and you don’t really want to be away from your guests for that long.

    I agree with the prior commenters about dessert – apples are logical choice. An apple idea that I have been making for several dinners lately is Apple & Pear Poppers with warm Caramel dipping sauce. It is super easy and can be made in advance. Simple Instructions: saute diced apples and pears with honey and cinnamon, spoon them onto wonton wrappers, seal the wrappers with egg wash, sprinkle the closed wrappers with sugar, deep fry them in fresh vegetable oil, microwave a caramel sauce (whole foods has a really good one,) and serve. The poppers can be made hours in advance of frying and the frying takes just a couple of minutes.

    • moderndomestic October 2, 2009 at 11:01 am #

      Those sound delicious, but I would terrified to deep fry anything at the last minute for guests. I think you have to be comfortable with deep frying for a recipe like that- whereas when I’ve tried it I’ve ended up smoking up the kitchen and burning everything. How can doughnuts be burnt on the outside and raw on the inside? I don’t know, but I’ve done it.

      • restaurant refugee October 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

        One should never be afraid of the deep fried anything. If you’re smoking out your kitchen and consequently your guests too then your oil is too hot (this is also how you can burn the outside of doughnuts but leave the inside raw.) If you don’t already have one, I would strongly urge you to get a deep fry thermometer to ensure that your temp is in the right spot.

  6. KPD October 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    OMG these are all amazing ideas. First of all, I am starving!

    Secondly, I have to figure out what to do! I will report back shortly – after I read through all these recipes. I think I’m leaning risotto or ravioli idea and the apple tart…not sure about appetizer.

    I need to stop stressing and enjoy this – – and make all these meals over the next few weeks so that I have a slew of meals in my repertoire for the next dinner party!

  7. KPD October 2, 2009 at 3:53 pm #

    Oh and warm caramel sauce makes my mouth water. No matter what apple dish I make, I think I’ll buy that!

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