Recipes for entertaining that deliver maximum flavor with minimum effort.
Hosting the perfect dinner party can mean days of planning, hours of shopping, and then a frenzy of last-minute preparation in the kitchen. After cleanup, the exhausted home chef often wonders how everything went.
In 125 Best Entertaining Recipes, there are 125 easy and delicious recipes that are sure to please guests. Here is just a sampling:
Dozens of helpful tips and examples of kitchen wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book, along with refreshingly frank advice on how to ensure a successful dinner party. (Rule #1: Invite only people you like.)
These flavorful dishes require only common, everyday ingredients. The result? A relaxed, satisfied home chef after every entertaining event.
Julia Aitken is a food writer, editor and cookbook author with decades of cooking and writing experience.
Let's get two things straight right off the top: Number one, inviting friends over for dinner doesn't have to be scary or stressful; number two, there are no food police. A certain blond is not going to burst into your kitchen brandishing a glue gun if you screw something up or if you cheat.
Which is fortunate because cheating is a big part of entertaining. There isn't a chef in this world who single-handedly prepares, serves and clears up meals for his customers. There's always a highly trained team of helpers both in the kitchen and out front - scurrying around helping to make Chef look good. So, why is it, when we entertain at home, we think we must do everything ourselves?
Here's where the cheating comes in. If you absolutely love to cook and think there's no better way to spend a day than puttering in the kitchen preparing for a dinner party (and I have to confess, I'm one of those weird people who do), then go ahead and make the whole meal from scratch.
If, on the other hand, you have a life, prepare an appetizer and main course, but buy a beautiful fruit pie for dessert, or simply serve fresh fruit and a selection of cheeses for "afters." If you'd prefer to create a luscious dessert yourself, then opt for a simple pasta main course to serve with purchased bread and a salad of mesclun, those baby greens now available in most large supermarkets.
Which brings us to grocery shopping. Who has the time? So, all the recipes in this book use ingredients available in most large supermarkets with just one or two detours needed to your local bulk-food store for items such as dried fruits.
I've structured this book to reflect a typical menu and you'll find dishes here that can be mixed and matched. There are nibbles to snack on with drinks while dinner's cooking, appetizers and soups to eat at the dining table, followed by main courses, accompaniments, salads then desserts. Feel free to create a whole meal from the book, or simply select an appetizer or a dessert you like the sound of and team it with a favorite main course of your own.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun cooking and don't try to tackle more than you can comfortably handle. Your guests would far rather enjoy a simple meal, in the company of a relaxed and happy host, than plow through a six-course banquet while you collapse frazzled and exhausted in the corner.
Pastas and breads
Fish, seafood and vegetarian