Tips for Entertaining with Ease

 

I’m a list maker; always have been. I find them particularly important when entertaining. No matter how small or large the party, things easily slip through the cracks, especially once company arrives. Time passes quickly and it’s so easy to forget to preheat the oven or to burn something. Holidays are particularly stressful, parties tend to be larger and there are so many other responsibilities other than cooking at that time of the year.

I use a spiral notebook to create a menu. Then a few days in advance, I start making lists of things to do by day. The example here is a small dinner party we had last year, just one couple. Notice that I put times down when things should be done. Then I set the timer to go off for each of them so I don’t have to think about when I should go back to the kitchen. I’m much more relaxed and spend more time with my guests by using these lists and the timer.

MENU

Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres

Hummus with pita chips and celery and carrot sticks
Olives

Appetizer

Mini cocottes of eggplant Parmesan

Entrée

Braised lamb shanks
Mashed sweet potatoes with goat cheese
Roasted herb cauliflower

Dessert

Individual apple crisp with Cheddar cheese

These are my hand written notes, there is no order to them, just what needs to be done.

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Friday

Braise lamb shanks
Groceries / flowers
Bake sweet potatoes
Make humus
Prep celery and carrots
Set table
Set out pots and pans
Serving dishes
Wine
Red sauce
Eggplant parm

Saturday
Wine
Plate veggies, olives and chips
Reheat parm/w mozzarella
Apple crisp – cook later (serve warm)
Prep cauliflower
Defat lamb
Reheat yams
Roast cauliflower
Reheat lamb/baste 300ºF/45 min
Bake crisp

Back of the page:

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Warming drawer – low

6ish take olives and humus out

6:30 plate chips

Dinner

Preheat ovens
350ºF
300ºF

6:45 – eggplant 30 min
mozzarella a few minutes

lamb 45 min

7ish – roast cauliflower
reheat sweet pots
reheat sauce

garnish: chopped parsley

slice cheese

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