the spread before the spread

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on December 3, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
Here’s a holiday quandary- when the pressure is on to put on a lavish holiday meal what can you serve beforehand that will simultaneously delight your guests and not push you over the edge? Disclaimer Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I adore having my house and table brimming with family and friends. It’s just al
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gem of a weekend

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Eating Out, Fête Fact, Posted on November 18, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
Two weeks ago, the stars aligned, and my college roommates and I finally got together for the first time in over seven years. Upon seeing each other it was if the last thirty-eight years literally melted away. What a tonic for each of our souls. We laughed, we reminisced, we held one another, and of course we ate (disclaimer: there was also a litt
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a leg up

food detective
Categories: Poultry, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on October 22, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (3)
All news is not fake news. Take this recipe by Alison Roman that I discovered in my NYT Weeknight Dinner news feed. This chicken dish, with its the complex flavors that come together in less than half an hour on a single sheet pan, is the real deal. It is really easy to prepare and really, really delicious. Most of the New York Time recipes are fo
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put yourself at the table

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Dinner Party, Sources, Fête Fact, Posted on September 21, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Isn’t it fun going to those upscale gourmet grocers and walking past their cases filled with amazing prepared fare? While tempting, picking up an entire dinner party that way can cost a small fortune. So, what should you do when you want the convenience of having everything made well in advance but you either want to showcase your own cooking and
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it’s all in the plan

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Grains and Pasta, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on August 29, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Now’s the time to harvest all that basil and make some fabulous pesto. Those near and dear who know my busy schedule might be saying- you made this today? Heck no! I made this (and wrote this) weeks ago and stowed it in my freezer. Because even when you’re really busy you still need to eat. And if you plan ahead, you can eat, really well. Here's
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a ray of sunshine

a moment in time
Categories: Soups, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Lunch, Posted on August 6, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Sitting down to write about soup seems surreal given last week’s tragic events. My heart breaks for everyone in Dayton, El Paso, and Gilroy. Given the overwhelming senselessness, sometimes the only thing to do is to try to focus on something positive you can control. It’s summer, and that means farmer’s markets. One of my favorite things to do on
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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
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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a tale of two tables

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on May 14, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
Well we moved. Twice.  As I navigate the sea of boxes, I will say there is a certain excitement in unwrapping the boxes and seeing my treasures. I’m going to give myself a little credit, I did a good job of packing up which in turn has made unpacking almost fun. The tricky part was dismantling an old renovated farm house and divvying up our
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goodbye old friend

entertaining with style- making it work for you
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Meat, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Sources, Posted on April 25, 2019 by Sandy Bergsten
You know how you sometimes take some of the best things for granted? They always seem to be there, so you assume they always will. The other day I had a panic attack as I realized I had just signed a lease for an apartment on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Overlooking Belmont Harbor, it has views of Lake Michigan but no personal outdoor space.
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