March 29, 2011

I Love Dinner Parties!

Planning a dinner party is fun! I like imagining the menu, and then letting other details come to me, inspired by the flavors, ingredients and style of the menu.

We are having some lovely new friends over for dinner this Saturday, and I am excited to think about what to make! Since it is spring, my husband immediately thinks of fava beans... and his gnocchi dish that has peas, fava beans, corn, gnocchi and truffle oil, it's delicious. That's our starting point, we know we want that as our appetizer, so then we build the rest of the menu around it- a pork roast that marinates for one day with lots of wonderful flavors, maybe some polenta, a light salad, and for dessert, caramel pudding with rich, unsweetened whipped cream... Is it Saturday yet?! I'm making myself hungry! (I am pleased to report that the fava bean plants I am attempting to grow have sprouted, hoorah! As have the peas and tomatoes!)

Recently, I was thinking back to a faux Thanksgiving we had with three other couples that we just ADORE. This was back in 2008. It was during the holidays, and each of the couples were going to embark on their own holiday plans and travel. Now, I love our families, and I love celebrating holidays with them, but sometimes I feel you miss the opportunity to also celebrate with friends! So, the ladies of the couples came up with the idea to have our own 'Thanksgiving,' but in January when we were all back from the holidays. I had the privilege of hosting the dinner, and it was so exciting. I remember that each person brought something- I think I still have dreams about the truffle macaroni and cheese, I might even still have the dishtowel that my friend used to bring it over (oops!). I remember making a coriander rubbed turkey, and an apple pie, but what I remember most of all is the camaraderie and conversation, and feeling so blessed to have each of these people in my life.

So the next time entertaining stresses you out, here are some tips, first, have a drink (to test the efficacy of the cooking wine of course), then perhaps have a chocolate, or a dr. pepper, and then list the top three things you like about each person that's coming over. You'll immediately feel better!

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