Lend Me Your Ears

Paella – A Convivial Dish

Ancient Roots      Paella is a rice dish that has ancient roots. Its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.  Paella is also the name of the specialized shallow pan used for this dish.      There’s not much of a consensus regarding how this delicious dish, perhaps Spain’s most famous, should be prepared. Also, what should, or shouldn’t go into it is an issue. The original recipes went from being relatively simple to including a wide variety…

Read More
Dinner

So, What’s For Dinner?

Quote: “Dinner is not what you do in the evening before something else. Dinner is the evening.” – Art Buchwald      Perhaps what’s hardest about preparing for a dinner party is coming up with an idea of what to serve. When Dorothy and I are selecting dishes, we consult a menu we’ve compiled of our favorites. It’s in an actual menu format, and we keep it as an opening page in the front of our personal cooking notebook. We can scan the entries, and usually something will seem appropriate for…

Read More

Seating Strategies For Your Dinner Party Guests

Quote: I don’t care where I sit, as long as I get fed. – Calvin Trillin Who To Invite “Dining partners, regardless of gender, social standing, or the years they’ve lived, should be chosen for their ability to eat – and drink! – with the right mixture of abandon and restraint. They should enjoy food and look upon its preparation and its degustation as one of the human arts.” ― M.F.K. Fisher   Deciding on a seating arrangement is one of the more important chores in preparing for your dinner party….

Read More
mac

A Mac and Cheese I’m Not Ashamed To Serve

     Ah, Mac and Cheese (see above). The comfort food of all comfort foods. To me the sight and smell of this immediately causes my mouth to water – definitely one of my guilty pleasures. First of All, I Have To Get This Off My Chest      I don’t consider the packaged varieties of mac and cheese to truly be mac and cheese at all. Sure, the final product has macaroni, milk, and butter. It’s 75% there, but it’s that mystery package of who knows what that I take issue with….

Read More

A Cheese Course? Of Course

“A MEAL WITHOUT CHEESE IS A ONE-EYED BEAUTY”      This quote is attributed to Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. He was an eighteenth-century lawyer and politician as well as a noted epicure who is credited with many other quotes regarding food. A Wonderful Addition      I think a cheese course is a wonderful addition to any meal. It is usually inserted between the main meal and dessert. When we are hosting a dinner party, we have found that dessert is often too heavy an addition after a huge meal, and replacing dessert…

Read More
Marbella

Your First Dinner Party? Start Simple.

Keep It Really Simple      If you’re interested in hosting a dinner party, don’t start with a sit-down dinner for eight.      Host a dinner with yourself and one other person. Pick an elegant but simple recipe and perfect it. A simple but exquisite dish is Chicken Marbella.  It may take several iterations to get it right, but your patience will be rewarded. It’s Showtime      Next try a dinner party for four. Serve the dish you have practiced preparing, and figure out how to make it special. Pick…

Read More
entertaining

Parties and Gatherings – Having People Over

     There are many reasons to have a party, but it’s mainly about wanting to mingle with the people we enjoy.      Your friends will be touched to be invited, and that you will be welcoming them into your home. It shows affection, and it’s a wonderful way to show appreciation for their friendship.       A party can also satisfy many of our social and emotional needs as human beings. It’s a chance to explore personalities and to mesh friendships. It’s also a chance to meet new people and to be introduced to new thoughts and ideas. And always remember,…

Read More
Rib roast

The Standing Prime Rib Roast

A Regal Presence On The Table      Preparing and serving a prime rib roast is always an event. Its regal presence on a table makes the occasion special, and its aroma can get my digestive juices flowing faster than any other food. It’s also interesting to watch our guests catch the first whiff of what’s in the oven. When they realize it’s prime rib, their excitement is almost palpable.     As human beings, we seem to continue to love meat. Our long history of the way we’ve consumed our eatables goes all of the way…

Read More
coq au vin cuisine

Your Go-to Classic Cuisine

     To be considered a great dinner party host, you need to have a dish representing a classic cuisine when you want to impress. It’s the one you’ve served many times and can prepare with a relatively high chance of success.      Over the years, it’s been changed so that it agrees with your particular tastes, and it’s the dish that has made you a living legend. It’s one of the reasons people want to score an invitation to sit at your table.      My go-to classic is Coq au Vin (click on this link to find my recipe…

Read More