hot summer daze

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Soups, Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on July 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (2)
Baby it’s hot outside.  Our prewar apartment on Lake Michigan has so much charm, but no central air or personal outdoor space. We do have a few strategically placed portable air conditioner units, but with endless days in the in high 90’s it’s a little warm inside. So, what’s a girl to do when she planned a party a month ago? Time to put her menu
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eat this

food detective The other night we stopped by my cousin’s in Lincoln Park for a glass of wine before heading out to dinner. She had a wonderful spread of cured meats and the most amazing fresh ricotta. My husband and I couldn’t wait to find out where she got it. Turns out there is an Eataly in Chicago. It’s a 12-minute drive from my apartment. And if you spend
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pre-reception

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Fête Fact, Posted on June 24, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
How fun that my daughter and her husband were going to be in town for a wedding the weekend of their first anniversary. Turns out the ceremony they were coming in for was uptown at three and the reception downtown at six, leaving a bit of a gap.  Lucky me that our new apartment happens to lie right in between. So my daughter and I decided to have
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first fête

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Appetizers, Desserts, Cocktail Party, Breakfast/Brunch, Setting the Stage, Fête Fact, Posted on June 9, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
So excited for my first Chicago party. My youngest, who is in business school at Northwestern, wanted to invite some of her classmates over to meet me and see the apartment before they took off for their summer internships. With my husband and I driving back across the country the week before, time was going to be too tight to pull off a proper
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wheelhouse

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Fête Fact, Posted on May 23, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
In my last post I mentioned how important it is to have a handful of go-to recipes that always work for you. With those up your sleeve you will never shy away from having people over. So many times people think they need to cook up something new or extravagant when they entertain. The truth is when you have a party it’s the guest list that most
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m is for memories

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Eating Out, Posted on March 5, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Last month I traveled to Omaha for my aunt’s services. It was a bittersweet occasion, for she died quite unexpectedly right after my dear uncle’s passing. The services were held on what would have been their 62nd wedding anniversary.  My cousins all did such a wonderful job of crafting a weekend that truly celebrated my aunt’s life and her love
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ham it up

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Meat, Cocktail Party, Lunch, Posted on February 17, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Happy Chinese New Year- it’s the year of the pig! What perfect timing that I stumbled upon the following recipe. One of my personal new year’s resolutions is to finally go through all my old cooking magazines that have literally been piling up for decades. And while I’ve been feeling some Marie Kondo pressure to simply pitch them all, I’m glad I
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under pressure

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Poultry, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Well Equipped, Posted on January 7, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
I’m not a fan of gadgets and hyped appliances. Who needs a multi-chopper when one has a knife? Or an egg cooker when one has a pot? But I succumbed on cyber-Monday with what looked like an incredible sale on everyone’s seemingly must-have: the Instant Pot. I never needed a slow cooker, I have my Le Creuset dutch oven. And flashbacks of pressure
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make it your own

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 8, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
The other night I was over at my dear friends Maggie and Richard’s for a drink. They truly are entertainers extraordinaire. Their home is so welcoming, their cocktails such fun, and their hors d’oeuvres divine. Those two really know how to make a guest feel special. As Richard poured a wonderful white burgundy in his crisp white apron, Maggie
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amuse bouche

making it for two
Categories: Appetizers, Dinner for Two, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on September 17, 2018 by Sandy Bergsten
Let’s be honest- after a long day who doesn’t want to come home to a little canapé? Please don’t roll your eyes because I make my spouse a small hors d'oeuvre to accompany his Makers Mark. And before you groan, let me show you how something that takes almost no effort can have a huge impact on those you love- be it your husband, wife, significant
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