Look, let’s be honest, I make a really good radicchio salad. That may not mean much to most people because radicchio isn’t one of those vegetables that gets anyone excited. It’s bitter. It’s red. It’s red and bitter. What’s the big deal? Well: I like to serve it before a big, heavy dinner to wake up the palate–sort of like a vegetable Negroni. Only my vegetable Negroni has anchovies and garlic in it. So, actually, let’s forget that Negroni bit and focus on how I make it.
Good morning! Like my bed-head? That’s me at this very moment trying to plan tonight’s dinner menu. I’m having a few friends over this evening and I’m in Phase One of the process: figuring out what I’m going to make. Usually I keep this process to myself but today I’ve decided to share it with you in the hopes that maybe you’ll get something out of it. By the end of this post, I’ll have my menu set.
Our friend Emily (who also happens to be Craig’s awesome manager; she’s in the apron on the right) had us over for dinner the other night and she pulled off something I would never be brave enough to attempt at a dinner party: she cooked us fish.
Fish is so tricky and temperamental, I’m nervous just to cook it for myself, let alone a crowd of people. I’ve seared fish in a pan, I’ve broiled fish in the oven. These techniques work fine for one or two, but for four? Five? Six? What do you do? Emily had the perfect solution. And it was such a smart solution, I plan to steal this idea for my own fish dinner parties in the future. Not only that: the results were so good I may use her technique for cooking fish just for Craig and myself. And that technique is…
The worst moment of my 13 year-old life was when my mom pointed to a stack of cardboard cards featuring my name written in glitter and told me that I had to write “thank you” notes for all of my Bar Mitzvah gifts. This was weeks after having been hospitalized for dehydration (my Bar Mitzvah was very stressful; all those “CH” sounds) and I couldn’t imagine a universe where anyone, in their right mind, would voluntarily write a “thank you” note. “Thank you” notes are strictly for those whose parents are making them write them.
When I first started cooking, I resented the idea of making food ahead for a dinner party. I wanted my food to be fresh! Cooked in the moment! Assembled minutes before the guests arrive!
It’s only recently, though, that I’ve started to see the virtue in prepping the food ahead. One: if you’re making a soup or a stew or a chili, that’ll only taste better after spending a night in the fridge. And two: you’ll be way less harried when your guests arrive. So here’s how to prep a dinner party a day ahead (with two dinner party examples).
Sometimes it’s nice to choose a theme for a dinner party. It makes it easier to pick an appetizer, a side dish, an entree and a dessert. At last week’s dinner party, the theme was The South (we had three Southerners in attendance) and I served up Rachel Wharton’s Pimento Cheese as an appetizer, the fried chicken from yesterday’s post, a homemade coleslaw on the side and then, for dessert, this here Hummingbird Cake.
When scheming of ways to dazzle your guests at a dinner party, fried chicken is often tossed aside as too difficult to pull off. And for good reason: if you fry chicken the traditional way, where you start it and finish it in a thick layer of hot oil, you can only fry a few pieces at a time and there’s a no way you can time it so that all of your guests get hot chicken at the same time. So you stick to more traditional dinner party fare–roast beef, leg of lamb–things you can throw in the oven and carve easily for your guests. But what if you COULD make fried chicken for a dinner party and have all the pieces–20 pieces in all–finish at the same time? Prepare yourself, then, gentle reader. I’m about to rock your world.
[Image via RoboPencil]
Everyone makes mistakes in the kitchen. Kim Kardashian got engaged in the kitchen and Justin Bieber fathered a baby in the kitchen. Look: it happens.
Some people freak out when a mistake happens: “Oh my God! This is a disaster! I’ll never cook again!” Other people employ a series of tactics to recover from their mistake. That’s what this post is about; here are 10 Ways To Fix A Mistake in the Kitchen.