Friday, January 20, 2012

Hosting A Successful Dinner Party

Last weekend we had our fun little dinner party and I have to say my hours of reading cook books and year and a half working in bakeries paid off!  We had such a great time and ate, and ate, and ate!  Here's how we did it. 

Our Menu:
  • Chicken in a pot
  • Pearl couscous with golden raisins
  • Mixed green salad with goat cheese and white wine dressing
  • Honey Spice Madelines
I winged the couscous and the salad but you can find the recipies for the rest in Around My French Table, one of my favorite cook books!  

Here's a photo tour of our evening. And a few notes on hosting a successful dinner party. 

If you're making madalines make them the night before or prep them before everything else.  They are best if the batter has time to rest...or if you're like me late getting ready for my own dinner party let them rest for 30 min in the freezer and hope that it's at least equal to 1 hour in the fridge.  Maybe it worked cuz they tasted great!

Next put together a cheese plate and open a bottle of wine so it can breath.  You never know when guests will show up early or something will wrong in the kitchen.  This way people have something to mingle over and munch on but not something that will fill them up before they eat the awesome dinner you're making!

Chose a dish that will let you visit with your guests.  Chicken in a pot is prepped before they show up (have fun trying to brown a whole chicken) and slow cooks in the oven for an hour.  This way you have time to chat and the happy smells coming from the oven will get everyone's gastric juices a flutter.  

Let them in on the action!  For this recipe you make a dough ring around the pot then place on the lid so the juices are sealed in as it bakes.  Tastes so good and you're guests also get to see part of the process.  

Holly wow, the house smelled so good when we cracked this baby open.  You may need a screw driver it's pretty well baked on there but everything inside was perfectly cooked.  Veggies still had a little crispness and we had about 40 cloves of garlic that we could spread on our bread they were so sweet and soft!

Bask in your own wonderfulness when it comes out looking just like the pictures, or even if it doesn't cuz hell, it'll still taste good! 

You don't have to be perfect.  Everyone thought it was just hilarious the way I chose to remove the chicken from the pot.  But it was so moist it would shred on a fork, crazy hot, and Mac didn't have big enough tongs.  Sometimes you need to improvise and now we'll never forget the "wooden spoon chicken." 

Have a good time!  There were no photos taken of the meal, I choose to see that as a good sign-too busy enjoying.  This is from the end of the night over the kitchen sink as the last dish was done being washed.  

I couldn't have done it with out my prep cook and dishwasher Mac going along behind cleaning up my tornado of a mess kitchen.  

Here's to great nights with friends and family!

P.S. Remember people wont know things did taste/end up the way you planned unless you tell them!


  1. Love your ps ... it is so true!!! And Julia Child herself said never apologize ... I live by that when baking and cooking. Enjoy your weekend!!!! XO!

  2. oh my GOSH that chicken looks *amazing*...and i love the dough wrapped around the pot! YUM.

  3. How delicious-I'm practically drooling! I think it's time for supper!

  4. That looks so fun! I love a good dinner party. I have a feeling we would get along over a bottle of wine (or two).



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