We have found hosting a dinner party without auxiliary help to be a bit tricky. If we are assuming the roles of both host and cook, we have to divide our time. We must work in the kitchen and have a socializing presence where we can engage in pre-dinner conversation.
Prepare the Dishes Ahead of Time
We can’t be in two places at once. I have found it’s ideal to have the food cooking and much of the preparation done before the guests arrive. As an example, if the entrée is beef bourguignon, we would assemble and begin cooking the dish about five hours ahead of the serving time.
We would also prepare casseroles of potatoes and some creamed vegetables the day before. Each could be taken out of the refrigerator and popped into the oven at the proper time. When ready, the entrée and sides can simply be plated and served to each guest seated at our table.
You Can Attend to Your Guests
Below is a simple recipe for what I call an “ahead of time” side. If you are hosting a dinner party, employ the concepts described above. This way your guests won’t feel abandoned by their hosts once they’ve arrived and are inside your door.
Creamy Mushroom-Potato Bake
1 1/2 lb.Potatoes white, peeled and cubed
1/2 mediumOnion white
1/4 lb.Mushrooms fresh white fine dice
2 TbspButter and a bit of oil
1/4 cupCream sour
To tasteKosher salt and pepper
1 TbspButter cut into dots
1/4 cupParmesan cheese
Can be prepared the morning of the dinner party.
Time: Morning of dinner party
Boil potatoes until they are fork tender, then drain and do a course mash.
In a skillet sauté onions and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp butter.
Stir contents of skillet into mashed potatoes.
Spoon into greased 1.5-qt. casserole. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Time: 90 Minutes before serving
Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature.
Time: 30 Minutes before serving
Sprinkle with cheese, dot with butter, and cook uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
Place on the counter so you can plate the mushroom-potato bake with the other servings on the plate.