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/or save a few pennies?

In a former life I worked with a caterer who was trained in French nouvelle cuisine. Side by side in the early morning hours we created beautiful dishes that would be served hours later. From that experience, and my gourmet window shopping, I discovered that it’s not only the professionals that can “cater” their own parties. You can too.

Last Tuesday we invited dear family friends over for dinner to see our new apartment. For this weeknight supper I wanted to be sure that I was spending every minute with our guests, not chained in the kitchen. So, I created one of my favorite menus that guarantees my place at the table.

To start I served smoked salmon on cucumber rounds. All the pieces and parts can be prepped hours ahead of time and stowed separately in the frig.

A showstopper main that really should be cooked earlier in the day is beef tenderloin. This gorgeous cut of meat (I special ordered a center cut from my butcher at Paulina Meat Market) needs all your attention while it’s in the oven, so heaven forbid you don’t overcook it.

Then before your guests arrive slice it and let it come to room temperature.

This crème fraiche horseradish sauce always tastes best made a day ahead of time.

Mashed potatoes with boursin and chives can be made earlier in the day, then reheated in the oven.

I steam and shock my asparagus earlier in the day, then quickly sauté it in a little butter and give it a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice right before serving.

The wild mushrooms can be sautéed earlier too. You can then reheat them at 50% power in the microwave.

These lemon sorbet cups can be filled and kept in your freezer days ahead of time. Before your guests arrive toss the blueberries with a splash of Grand Marnier. Then spoon over right before serving.

Here’s to a sensational a dinner where you won’t miss a thing.

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