Saturday, August 22, 2009


My favorite thing about entertaining is not showing off the fabulous new recipe. Rather, it’s creating a setting for a fabulous mix of friends to enjoy each other’s company. I love dinner parties. I love every element. I love the menu planning, the shopping, selecting the wines. I love choosing music to suit the mood I want to set. I love decorating the rooms with candles and table runners, I love selecting the place settings and setting the table. I don’t even mind the cleaning! And when guests arrive and comment on these things (“oh feels so mellow here!” or “what a lovely place setting”), then I know I’ve succeeded!

A not-so-long-ago memorable small gathering was no exception. It was a bit impromptu – I had only invited my guests the day before, and I was quite relaxed with the menu – I selected well-worn dishes I have made before. I was focused on cooking a pleasant meal and enjoying old and new friends, not on trying out the fascinating new recipe. (This time, anyway ;-)

So out came my beloved braised chicken and vegetables which I’ve made so many times (it came from Cooking Light originally, but I’ve modified it over the years), a quinoa pilaf for my non-meat eating guest (a Food and Wine recipe, again modified to suit the meal), and a spinach blood orange salad with walnuts & parmesan with a lovely citrus oil and balsamic vinaigrette. Tasty, satisfying, and well received! But the joy of the evening for me was the lively and interesting conversation which accompanied the meal.

By the way, we drank a beautifully balanced 2006 Stags’ Leap Chardonnay with cheese before dinner (contributed by one of my guests), and Epiphany’s rich and complex 2004 Gypsy Red blend with dinner.

No comments: