Autumn Entertaining: Tips for a Cozy Dinner Party
By Ryan Frisch
Old-fashioned dishes are sure to please. Even if you are tempted to break out the liquid nitrogen or invest in a fancy sous-vide cooker, forget about it. This is Vermont and cool nights call for homey dishes. Roast some chicken or let a ragout simmer in the oven. Your friends will enjoy a warm and wonderful evening and think you are a genius in the kitchen.
Good organization is the key. No matter what you decide to serve, two or three last minute trips to the farm stand or grocery store can frazzle any host. Check your recipes and your cupboards and make a detailed list before you head out. Focus on local, seasonal produce and easy to find cuts of meat, poultry or fish. That way, you know you will find everything you need.
Don’t just plan ahead – cook ahead! Whether you make Julia Child’s infamous Boeuf Bourguignon or roast a pork loin, prep and cook as much as possible before your guests arrive. For those dishes that require your last minute attention, do as the professionals do—prep your ingredients in advance to avoid a scramble to find, measure, chop, mince and even sauté your ingredients.
Don’t forget the cheese. A wonderful artisanal cheese is a great way to start the evening. Enjoy a glass of wine or a local brew with some of Vermont’s finest cheeses. Sprinkle a little on the salad or add it to a side dish, and your guests will sing your praises.
End on a high note. Who doesn’t love dessert? Fruity, creamy or
chocolaty, with a special dessert your party will transcend memorable. Pears
poached in red wine, crème brûlée or decadent chocolate torte, your guests will
savor and remember your wonderful dinner, especially dessert, for months to
come. Short on time? Serve really good ice cream with a thick and rich
chocolate sauce. Dessert not your thing? That’s what bakeries are for!