Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice

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by Lydia Ellison

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Got this question yesterday from a dear friend…

“So I have 5 women coming over (in their 50’s, 40’s and 30’s) and I want to really do it up. Something impressive, but also, not terribly hard to make as I am an amateur.”

This was my response…

Ok this is my advice on entertaining, much of it I learned from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa books and cooking show. Her two biggest rules are…

1. Only serve 3 dishes for dinner and a dessert and only cook 2 of the dishes (i.e. a store bought dessert, or one dish a green salad.) Trust me, cooking is fun but tiring and you have to shop and get the house ready so don’t over do it. Just make 2 really yummy dishes and simplify the other dishes.

2. NEVER make a dish that requires lots of last minute work, you won’t be able to hang out with your guests if you are stirring risotto during cocktails!

So for your party based on that above advice these are my suggestions…

Do 1 store bought appetizers and a signature drink (the sig. drink adds the “wow” factor)
Appetizers ideas-
soft goat cheese drizzled with honey, wafer crackers or bread and walnuts
proscuitto wrapped around bread sticks
sliced cucumber and pita bread with store bought taziki
sliced baguette topped with blue cheese, melt in the oven and then top with a drizzle of honey
olive tapenade and bread and mini mozzeralla balls

Signature Drinks-
prosecco with a spoonful of lemon or raspberry sorbet mixed in the glass
Gwyneth’s dirty martinis
white wine sangria- fruity Savingon Blanc with sliced citrus fruit and a cup of lemonade all mixed in a pitcher
bottle of rose champagne (so chic)

Salad Course– (you  must make your own dressing, this one is good)
grilled eggplant with goat cheese
mixed greens with a round of goat cheese on a baguette round toasted in the oven
butter lettuce with a creamy vinaigrette
roast butternut squash salad

Dinner Course-
Vegetable Lasagna this recipe is SO GOOD and you can make it in advance warm it up during cocktails
Indonesia Ginger chicken with garlic smashed potatoes (so so yum)
Baked Shrimp Scampi– incredible!! serve with white wine, french bread and this

Dessert course- no bake ideas
store bought pound cake served with fresh berries and lemon yogurt sauce
good chocolate cookies (from a bakery) and fresh strawberries
good brownies (from a bakery) warmed slightly topped with vanilla ice cream
chocolate sorbet with this raspberry sauce (very light which is good for women)
salad

Thought this might be helpful to some of you out there!

xo,

LE

6 Comments on Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice

  1. Kim in MD
    July 14, 2010 at 5:44 am (9 years ago)

    I stumbled upon your blog today (I linked you through your comment on Smitten Kitchen). What a fabulous blog! You and I have so much in common (love of glassware and Barefoot Contessa). The menu above is fabulous, and would make Ina proud! I love your suggestions…I am going to try hard to stick to these rules the next time I entertain! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. applesandonions
    July 14, 2010 at 9:02 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks Kim! We’re so glad you found us. We’ll have plenty more posts on entertaining and glassware (we love it too!) in the future.
    Best,
    Sarah & Lydia

4Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice

  1. […] It’s all about the presentation, make it look nice on a platter! You could replicate these dishes above with items from Trader Joe’s or your own local artisan vendors. For more tips on entertaining read this. […]

  2. […] I highly recommend thoroughly reading Ina’s cookbooks, she has TONS of valuable cooking and entertaining advice hidden on the chapter headings and recipe […]

  3. […] to announce that our second feature is live on The Daily Meal.  For this feature we updated Lydia’s Dinner Party Advice into our all-time top 5 dinner party tips.  Guaranteed to make entertaining more […]

  4. […] It’s all about the presentation, make it look nice on a platter! You could replicate these dishes above with items from Trader Joe’s or your own local artisan vendors. For more tips on entertaining read this. […]

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