Dinner Party for 10

April 19, 2009

Another great night. Last night – I had my “spring fling” (I just coined that as of last night  because for 5 years I have – without really realizing it before – had this dinner party every April for about 4 years).I think it all started with a baby shower that I threw for my dear friend’s daughter, about 6 years ago. Barbara put the names of her closest friends on the invite list and they arrived, along with others, to share in this event – which, by the way, was the first baby shower I had ever thrown! It was a great group – we laughed so much, as we melted in the heat…wouldn’t you know it , it was late September and we experienced an unusual heat wave THAT DAY…and of course, my husband had removed all the air-conditioning due to the date. At any rate – we laughed, we talked and we drank an apparently fantastic punch (according to the Great Grandma and Great Aunt!) that I made using cranberry juice, vodka and a splash of Grand Marnier – but you can use O.J. too.

The following April marked Barbara’s birthday, and I wanted to do something nice for her – so told her I would throw her a birthday lunch. I asked who she’d like there and she gave me the names of 3 fabulous women, Brenda, Lorna and Louise. Once again, over quiche and salad and wine (of course) we hit it off…lots and lots of laughter with a few hot flashes thrown in for extra entertainment. We had fun.

How it happened –  I’m not sure;  but obviously we hit it off because we decided to socialize again as a group and this time include the husbands – and you know you’re onto being real friends when you start including the husbands! Now this group of couples had been friends for years and years -so my husband and I were the newcomers….what can I say, people? Hand in a glove! We had a wonderful time.  Next thing you know – someone else in the group had a BBQ and we were thrown together again…another great time. So then I thought I’d be daring and invite them here….and the rest is history. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine throwing a party and not having them here…for goodness sakes – they are a party!

Now dinner for 10 sounds daunting –  but it’s not, you just have to plan – and it does not have to break the bank either. First of all – decide on what you’re going to serve – make one aspect of your meal the feature. Sometimes I’ve done chicken, sometimes I’ve had my husband BBQ some chops. I always plan a decadent dessert and then I take my friends up on their offers to bring something – appetizers, salad and bread. In the past I would never have dreamt to allow anyone to bring part of dinner….I’m old school I guess, raised by parents who based dinner etiquette on the old rules from decades long past. But in these times of watching our pennies more closely than usual – it really does help, and perhaps even more importantly – it means I’m not in the kitchen the whole evening cooking. Ok – that’s your first secret – pick a meal that can be, at least partially made ahead so that you don’t have to tend too closely.

Last night I made a killer Lasagna. I bought those fresh pasta noodles  to make the prep smoother (I hate the no-cook dry kind from a box- you end up with Italian “mush”). Then I worked on The Sauce. Ground beef, finely chopped red and yellow peppers and a few chopped black olives (gotta have some color!) onions, garlic, oregano, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, dash of sugar and a healthy dash of wine. So that simmered on the stove for a couple of hours in the afternoon making the house smell heavenly. In another pan I wilted some spinach and added fresh basil – mixed it all together with some ricotta and shredded cheeses. Then I layered the lasagna – slapped foil on top and sent it to the fridge to await  the guests.

What to do, what to do about dessert? Well, as luck would have it, it was another friend’s birthday that same day and I have traditionally baked her a birthday cake and taken it over to her for the last 13 years . Yesterday I decided, with insanity leading the way, to make a triple layer chocolate cake. I figured that I would come up with some creative idea for my dinner party’s dessert anyway. So that left me with one very fudgy layer of chocolate cake….how would that feed 10 you ask? A couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream, next to a small piece of fudgy cake and a big spoonful of sliced strawberries (that had been sitting in some honey) ladled on top. I then tried to make my own fudge sauce in advance (do not attempt!) and upon re-heating it was a tad thick and chunky…but I plopped it on anyway because, hey – it’s chocolate! Well, everyone ate and thoroughly enjoyed, and of course the wine and the laughter flowed – at one point we were so uproarious that I worried that my youngest would wake up…she didn’t – she’s used to party frivolity.

And that, my friends, is at least one way that you can throw a dinner party for 10….most important part of the recipe for success is not the food, the planning or the meal…...it’s the company.

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3 Responses to “Dinner Party for 10”

  1. Katie Says:

    Hi nice blog 🙂 I can see a lot of effort has been put in.

  2. _joey_ Says:

    This blog’s where its happenning. Keep up the good work.

  3. mrred Says:

    Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.


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