Hostesses with the mostess
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner it’s the perfect time to throw a fabulous dinner party. But great parties don’t happen by accident.
Hosting for the the first or hundredth time these tips are sure to take your party to the next level.
Our Top 10 Tips for Hosting a GREAT Dinner Party!!!
1. Use trusted, make-ahead recipes you’ve already made at least once.
I strongly advise serving foods that are ‘in the bag’ — reinvent and experiment on a leisurely weekend when no one’s watching. Then serve it up the next week!
2. Incorporate make-ahead dishes that reheat well.
A stew gets better the next day, a hearty dish of lasagna or black bean enchiladas will make everyone smile — most important, I believe in steering clear from complicated meals that you have to prepare while people are there in party mode. No one wants to have you slaving away at the stove, missing the socializing. The big exception to this idea is barbequing outside in summer months, whereupon you can grill while staying engaged with guests.
3. Never underestimate what good fixings can do for your soiree.
I’m talking about a variety of fresh breads from the bakery, great olive oil for dipping and pickles, olives, roasted peppers and a platter of local cheeses from the grocery. In fact, skip the main dish sometimes, a lovely party can be made solely of flavorful nibbles from your favorite specialty grocer.
4. When someone offers to bring something, SAY YES and delegate what that something is.
You can never have too many salads or desserts — these are the best items to pass on to pals. Your friends will love to contribute and it’s one less thing on your list.
5. Don’t have matching, nice plates?
Don’t sweat it. A cacophony of disparate styles actually comes together beautifully when it’s intentional. I love tons of pattern and craziness on the table — when it’s all crazy, it all works. Set the intention and go for it.
6. Pick fresh herbs and edible flowers from my yard for the table setting.
It’s low-key, yet stylish, and brings in a natural element from the outdoors. It’s also easy on the budget and will elevate your table into a special occasion look.
7. Let a favorite region guide your culinary choices.
This will give you the oomph to go the extra mile, which will be so appreciated. For example, do you love Indian food? Think of the loose Indian flavor profile, chile, lime, cilantro and cumin and incorporate these spices into a dish you already know how to make. You could brushing these flavors onto vegetables and incorporate them into a simple pilaf of any favorite grain. PIck up an order of fresh naan from a local indian restaurant, chutney from the grocery, lastly stir up some raita (simply cucumber and plain yogurt) and chop up fresh mango drizzled with lime for dessert. Top off the semi-homemade meal with a juicy cocktail or cold beer — your guests will be dazzled.
10. Get out of the house.
A picnic in the park is lovely, especially if your pad is tiny. Think of the lawn games, dancing, feasting and napping that can happen only in the great outdoors. Order burritos from your favorite Mexican place; after all, entertaining and relaxing with friends isn’t really about the food — it’s about the laughter, friendship and connection. Food is the ultimate foil for togetherness and celebration.
What’s your best advice for new hosts? Do you have a few clever tips up your sleeve? Please share your wisdom below in the comments section.