raise the bar

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Beverages, Cocktail Party, Setting the Stage, Wine Line, Posted on September 3, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten -
raise the bar

When entertaining you agree to do three things: provide you guests with something to eat, something to drink, and the opportunity to be merry. The easiest part of planning a party should be the beverages. Most folks make this step complicated by thinking they need to come up with some snazzy signature cocktail. Few will be happy with your frozen
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chop chop

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Desserts, Dinner Party, Kitchen Tenets, Wine Line, Posted on February 25, 2013 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (1)
chop chop

Nothing thaws the February blues like a cozy dinner party. The key to making an intimate dinner a success is being out with your guests not locked in the kitchen. Easy to do when your entire meal is planned and prepped ahead of time. Think of yourself as a caterer- catering a party for you! When entertaining a small group it’s easy to splurge.
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the big… countdown

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Fish and Seafood, Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Desserts, Beverages, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Factoids, Posted on November 11, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
the big… countdown

Saturday I turned the big five-oh. And what better way to herald this milestone then a cozy dinner for twelve the night before. One of the best presents this girl could ask for is a table full of dear friends laughing, toasting and thoroughly enjoying themselves. Want to know a truism I’ve learned over the past half century? Guests only have as
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in the pink

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Soups, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Posted on August 7, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
in the pink

Having a business associate over for a midweek dinner. Time to keep it light, fresh and fast. Summer suppers stir up images of chilled soup and garden-fresh greens. How about a flash from the past- chilled borscht coupled with airy crab cakes? Here is a beet soup that has stood the test of time. In fact it’s the very recipe I served at my wedding
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don’t let the sunshine fool you

the hostess with the mostest hotel
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Posted on May 3, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
don’t let the sunshine fool you

Loaded into the Mercury Grand Marquis, armed with water and sunglasses we headed west to Joshua Tree Park. Past the alien-like windmills of Whitewater and north toward the national park the temperature readout on our dash the size of a park bench dropped with each mile. A quick pit stop greeted us with 35 mile winds and plunging 51 degree temps
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merci buco

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Well Equipped, Wine Line, Posted on April 13, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
merci buco

With a momentary chill in the air and foodies on the calendar this might be the last possible weekend to serve up ossobuco. Big note- the following is not for the faint of heart. These braised veal shanks take most of the day to prepare. But while you will spend more hours in the kitchen then out the beauty of these tender cuts is that they can
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italian lifeline

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Grains and Pasta, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Posted on March 18, 2012 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
italian lifeline

Nothing beats having a top chef on speed dial. Lucky for me mine is a die-hard Italian with a prowess for texting. When I’m in a Tuscan pinch I can always count on Paul Minnillo to lend me a virtual hand. For a small dinner party it can be fun to reach out of your comfort zone and take a culinary excursion to a different time zone. Tonight we’re
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toasting in the new year

perfecting the done before they arrive party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Cocktail Party, Wine Line, Posted on December 29, 2011 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
toasting in the new year

Nothing quite wraps up the old and heralds in the new like caviar and champagne. Who can resist this dynamic duo. Whether it’s for a crowd or for something a little more intimate.Trader Joe’s does a bang up job on delivering bling without breaking the bank. I am impressed with their American paddlefish caviar. Equally so with their Louise d’Estree
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friendly fire

perfecting the “done before they arrive” dinner party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Soups, Meat, Desserts, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Posted on November 5, 2011 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
friendly fire

Blue jeans, a roaring fire and just one other couple. Now that’s my kind of Friday night. After a flurry of business it’s great to be able to let down your hair and soak in your company. It’s also a perfect opportunity to do a test run on any key components for next week’s dinner for twelve.
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triple crown

perfecting the “done before the arrive” dinner party- a work in progress
Categories: Appetizers, Salads and Dressings, Fish and Seafood, Poultry, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Wine Line, Posted on September 25, 2011 by Sandy Bergsten - Comments (0)
triple crown

Entertaining you want to take some risks but also hedge a few bets. Old wines are a wild card. You can dust them off, stand them up, but until you uncork them what they hold is an unknown- could be a home run or has-been. Most often there is little in between.
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