practice makes perfect

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Dinner Party, Sources, Well Equipped, Fête Fact, Posted on July 6, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
A few weeks ago, after returning to Chicago we had our first dinner party. I was so excited to plan the menu, at long last set our table for more than two, and prep for the evening. I thought I had it all planned out perfectly. Turns out I was more than a little out of practice. I hate when I have people over and I find myself stranded in the
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picking sides

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Salads and Dressings, Grains and Pasta, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on June 20, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
This Fourth of July we are staying in the city. Thought it might be fun to invite some friends over to celebrate our country’s independence and relish in our now chilly dining room courtesy of our newly installed AC unit. Just because you are an apartment dweller doesn’t mean you can’t have an indoor barbeque. The key is figuring out what to
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shot in the arm

perfecting the "done before they arrive" party- a work in progress
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Sauces and Such, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Well Equipped, Posted on April 11, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten
Getting that second vaccine dose was like a heavy door unlocking. It was almost surreal allowing myself to think of possibilities and the thought of making plans. I was so excited to invite our first guests over for dinner. And erring on the side of caution, and because we are in southern California, I knew we could dine outside. What I didn’t
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taking sides

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Posted on November 7, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
What a week. How about taking a break from all the divisiveness and embrace a side that really gets along? And because your tank is probably running on fumes, cut yourself some slack and take a quick trip down the freezer and pantry aisle for an accompaniment that will simultaneously comfort and wow.   There is a reason there is an idiom for
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a bit grating

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Salads and Dressings, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on October 12, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Things feeling a bit harsh? People around you a tad on edge? Maybe it’s time to open the frig and bring out the box grater.  In the spirit of “when life gives you lemons make lemonade”, here you take whatever veggies you have on hand on and with a few quick strokes they’re transformed into lofty comfort food. Crisp on the edge, light and airy
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into the woods

food detective
Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Cocktail Party, Sources, Posted on August 31, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
On a recent trip to the Evanston’s farmers market I spotted these gorgeous “hen of the wood” mushrooms. If they sprouted legs and a beak you could almost imagine they would start to scratch and strut amongst the stands.  Personal disclaimer- what often looks inspirational at the farmers market frequently turns out to be a bomb in my kitchen.
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little choked up

cooking for one... or two
Categories: Appetizers, Veggies and Sides, Dinner for Two, Supper, Lunch, Posted on May 9, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Many are in month two of wondering what to cook for one or two. If you need a little inspiration don’t fret, because guess what? It’s artichoke season! Perhaps it’s been a long time since you steamed an artichoke, or maybe you never have. Well you’re in for a treat. Cooking up an artichoke is a simple affair. Basically, just cut off the stem and
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defining your wheelhouse

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Meat, Veggies and Sides, Supper, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on February 1, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
Entertaining is a lot like baseball. To maximize success, you need to figure out how to consistently hit the ball out of the park. That means knowing exactly where in the strike zone you should position yourself. The takeaway here is to realize that your personal sweet spot might not be the same as someone else’s. It’s important to figure out what
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maximize what you do best

simple truths to unleash your entertaining potential
Categories: Fish and Seafood, Veggies and Sides, Dinner Party, Fête Fact, Posted on January 20, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten
In entertaining (and in life) certain principles hold true. For example, we should all strive to acknowledge our unique strengths and realize our own limitations. Maximizing what you do best and outsourcing where you fall short will help you succeed wherever you set your mind. Here that means entertaining others in a way that is actually enjoyable.
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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
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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