I am an event coordinator and parties are my thing. Whether I am organizing an event for 500 people or having an intimate dinner party in our home, it is all about the detail and the preparation. Call me crazy, but the adrenaline starts flowing when I am in the kitchen.
This past weekend, Mike and I hosted a dinner party for 14 guests (including ourselves). It was a sit-down, 4-course plated meal. We are pleased to say that everyone enjoyed themselves immensely and afterward sent us wonderful emails and texts. Thanks all…. it was truly our pleasure.
Planning an event such as this takes time and preparation. There have been many times we have done a “spur of the moment” gig. But this was a planned dinner party where everything was made from scratch!
We set the date, invited our guests, and started the planning process a month in advance. The first thing on our minds… the menu. I wanted everything to taste extraordinary from the first bite and I wanted to serve a meal that had beautiful color, texture and melted in one’s mouth. I wanted to create a memory.
I then started thinking about the table. Luckily, our table is huge and opens to 12 feet when we add the two leaves. Very dramatic looking and yes, 14 people would fit comfortably. I then thought about the chairs, the placemats, plates, silverware and glasses. Did I have enough of everything? I ended up having to purchase placemats and cloth napkins. I made sure that the placemats were neutral in color so that my dishes would pop. I also thought about seating placement and the centerpieces. The table is long and whatever I chose would need to make a statement. I selected fresh flowers in fall colors that I cut short and placed into three-square short vases, so as not to visually impede those sitting across from one another. I wanted conversation to flow and I wanted everyone to be able to see across the table!
Once our guests rsvp’d and I knew how many would attend, we set everything in motion. The most important thing for us was that neither Mike nor I wanted to get stuck in the kitchen. We were the hosts and hosts we wanted to be. Most of the preparation and some of the cooking would take place before our guests arrived (days in advance) with very little work being done after our guests walked through the door.
Because my husband and I make such a good team, we knew this wasn’t going to be too difficult. Yet it was going to be a challenge. We love our home and making sure it looks beautiful is important to us. We did much of the cleaning in advance with a quick touch-up at the end. Yes, ladies, Mike is one of those amazing men that you can only dream about. Boy did I get lucky! He not only helps with housework, but he is an excellent cook (will share some of his creations in later blogs), great yardman and insists on fixing things around the house before calling in reinforcements!
Anyway, back to the dinner party and the menu. Here is what we served.
Brie Cheese at room temperature served with a baguette
Cinnamon Apple Goat Cheese served with pita crackers
Pate served with a Remoulade Sauce with slices of a baguette
Eggplant / Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade served over goat cheese, with toasted rounds
Appetizer Wine: Clean Slate & Castle Rock Pinot Noir
Carrot Ginger Soup
Roasted Beets and Carrots over Mixed Greens with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
Beef Tenderloin prepared with a Perini Rub and grilled
Roasted Potatoes with Onions
Lightly Sautéed Asparagus
Dinner Wine: Josh Merlot (Joseph Carr 2011)
Café Au Lait Cheesecake with raspberries
Freshly ground and brewed coffee
Look for these amazing recipes in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Bon Appetit!