Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Week of Parties

Party 1: V's baby shower. made cupcakes
Party 2: Girls' night (with my high school friends)
Party 3: Tonight, 2 of my best friends coming over for dinner.

Parties 1 & 2: Completed.

Having my high school friends over for dinner was loads of fun, and not too much work either.

Here was the menu:

Sea salt pita chips + store bought hummus

Grilled chicken
Grilled eggplant
Steamed zucchini
Baked fries
Pasta with fresh mozzarella and garden tomatoes

Little dollops of ice cream with peaches soaked in wine and a bit of sugar

It was really simple to put together because I did almost everything the day before. Pick up the ingredients from the market, marinate the chicken and veggies, clean the house, cut up the peaches to marinate, and set the table. Then when I got home from work the day of all I had to do was cut up the potatoes, fire up my amaaazing panino maker (read: indoor grill! thanks PB!!!), bake the fries and zucchini, cut up the mozzarella and tomatoes, and cook the pasta.

The tricks to a successful party are simple:
1. Plan ahead. Start thinking about your menu a couple of days ahead.
2. Prepare as much as possible the day before. That means going to the market, making sure your house is in tip top shape, setting up the table, and prepping the foods that can be prepped.
3. Clean up as you go along. This makes the cleanup at the end of a party so easy and fast. And with an open kitchen like mine, I NEED that area to stay clean!
4. Marinate your veggies and meats from the day before. I swear that food just tastes SO MUCH BETTER when it has had the proper amount of time to marinate.

My simple dinner table:

The eggplant on my panino maker. I cooked the pasta and cut up the mozzarella and tomatoes while this grilled.

The main meal all set up on my platter:

Close up of the zucchini:

Close up of the pasta:

The peaches (the vanilla ice cream is hiding at the bottom):

PB- jealous?

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