Project Food Blog: Luxury Dinner Party
Celebrate the small surprises and the big accomplishments. Life is too short to leave a special bottle of wine unopened. This Champagne Wishes! dinner party is perfect for your next celebration, whether it be a major life event like an engagement or just a good day at work. The menu is straight forward yet elegant. The luxury of filet mignon is balanced out by a simple mushroom topping and side of steamed spinach. A touch of champagne in the risotto brings the celebration full circle.
Seasonal Cheese Plate with Fig Jam, Apple Slices & Rosemary Crackers
Filet Mignon with Mushrooms
Alessandra’s Champagne Risotto
Tricolore Salad with Parmigiano Reggiano
Pomegranate Spritzers & Assorted Wines
Mascarpone Parfaits with Chocolate Shavings & Crushed Amaretti Cookies
What are you celebrating? In our case, we are celebrating moving on to the next round in Project Food Blog! Our luxury dinner party was truly a celebration.
As we enjoyed the champagne risotto and filet mignon, fireworks began outside our window. I am not joking.
This challenge was made for me. I eat, sleep, and breathe playing hostess, but I like to keep it simple and easy. You never want to tire of hosting.
Hosting a successful dinner party can be as easy as fixing yourself a cup of tea. It just takes a bit of patience and practice to get there. You don’t have to spend the entire week leading up to a party slaving in the kitchen, market, or dining room.
For the 3rd challenge of Project Food blog, the Luxury Dinner Party, I could show you a super fancy table. I could show you fancy, time-consuming dishes.
Hosting dinner parties should be fun. If you are intimidated or think you are not up to the challenge – I’m here to prove you wrong! You don’t necessarily even have to be an excellent cook. With a few key components, it will come together and be fantastic. A dinner party is just a “dinner” unless you make it a PARTY. Let me teach you how.
Theme & Menu
My favorite part of playing hostess is creating the theme and menu. For your theme, consider your occasion, season, guest list, and amount of time and space.
Your menu should reflect your cooking abilities and your time. If you are a new cook, don’t overreach. Keep it simple and straightforward. Choose an appetizer, main dish, a few sides, and a dessert. Test your recipe once before the party to avoid any surprises. Keep the pairings natural but don’t be afraid to experiment.
To Do Lists
Make a comprehensive market list. Then make a comprehensive to do list.
With plenty of time left…
Select theme & menu. Invite guests.
Make a dinner party music playlist if you don’t have one.
With one week left…
Purchase non-perishable items.
Consider your table settings. Purchase any necessary items.
With 3 days left…
Clean your house.
Prepare small touches for guests, including fresh hand towels in the bathroom.
With 2 days left…
Buy all needed groceries.
Select serving trays. Presentation is important!
With 1 day left…
Cook any items you can make ahead.
Set the table.
When you wake up the morning of the party…
Buy bread, flowers, and other last minute items.
In the afternoon…
Cook all dishes that can be made a few hours ahead of time.
Get yourself ready – you want to feel beautiful too!
An hour before guests arrive…
Clean your kitchen so it is spotless, especially if you have an open kitchen design.
Play music & pour yourself a drink to get into the party mood.
When guests arrive…
Toss salad with dressing.
Heat up dishes that need warming.
Enjoy yourself! All the work has already been done, now it’s time to have fun.
For last minute entertaining…
Always have mixed nuts, cheese, and crackers on hand.
Select a one pot meal like lasagna or pasta.
Make your table look beautiful, serve lots of wine, and relax. No one is judging you.
A beautiful table, nicely presented food, and pretty serving trays will make the dining experience much more enjoyable. I select my serving trays a few days ahead of time and think about how I can make the food visually appealing. Sometimes it is about the tray you select, and other times it is about the small touches and garnishes you add. For the tricolore salad in this dinner party I chose to add the shaved parmigiano reggiano on top of the salad instead of mixing it in.
For your table centerpiece, use natural elements. For this season, a bowl of beautiful small pumpkins would be nice. During the holiday season I like to fill a bowl with pretty ornaments. Simple vases with flowers turn an ordinary table into a beautiful one. To make a dinner extra special, print up menus. Gorgeous cardstock from your local crafts store is surprisingly affordable and can be printed them on your printer at home!
A Few Tips
1. Make sure you house is clean and comfortable for guests.
2. When guests arrive make sure they are your first priority. Most of the cooking should already be completed with only a few small tasks left. No one wants to party alone while the hosts are busy in the kitchen.
3. Let your guests join in the fun! I try to insist that my guests just relax, but some really want to help. My friends love to help slice the cheese, bring food to the table, or open the wine bottles.
4. Before your guests even arrive, turn on the music and pour yourself a drink in a pretty glass. Put on your party shoes and get in the mood!
5. Put a little piece of paper in front of each serving tray listing what will go on it so you don’t forget! Remove before guests arrive.
If all else fails, drink more wine.
**This is my official entry for Challenge #3: Luxury Dinner Party in Project Food Blog. If you enjoy this post and think I deserve to move on, please vote for me beginning Monday October 4! You can click on the widget on the top right of my site to get to the voting page or click here! Thank you!
Other Project Food Blog entries:
Challenge #1: Ready, Set, Blog
Challenge #2: The Classics
Easter Menu 2010
Thanksgiving Brunch Menu 2009
Welcome to Fall
Dishes for Entertaining
How to be a Great Entertainer