Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dinner Party Recap

What a success! I love when things go right around here. The menu turned out great and it fit everyone's palette, which can be hard when catering to others. For all my viewers at home, I tried to write down things as I did them so I could explain how I got ready. We ended up getting a late start to the grocery store, so I was back later than anticipated, it was a bit of a crunch. But I do love a good challenge, so I pushed forward!

If you want to see the menu, go here.

I showered and got ready before leaving and returned from the grocery store at 5:00pm.
  • Arranged flowers for table
  • Got out butter to soften for cake and Herb Blue Cheese Butter
  • Cut potatoes, put in water bath in fridge (keeps them from browning)
  • Cut lettuce (with a lettuce knife....again to keep from browning), spun dry, placed in plastic bag lined with paper towels- in fridge
  • Washed grapes
  • *Dish Washing Break* (I find it important to clean as I go, especially when having guests over)
  • Plate cheese, cracker, grape tray- place in fridge temporarily)
  • Made croutons (they need to cool fully, so these are great to make and get out of the way)
  • Made individual cakes (in the oven for about 20 minutes)
  • Made Herb Blue Cheese Butter
  • *Dish Washing Break*
  • Started potatoes in boiling water
  • Prepped steaks- they get coated in salt, pepper and garlic
  • Poured wine in decanter
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Tossed salad
  • Finished potatoes (kept warm by covering with aluminum foil and placing in microwave- just DON'T start the microwave!)
  • Set out cheese tray
  • *Dish Washing Break*
At this point, I just waited for the guests to arrive at 7pm to start the steaks since they cook so fast. (BTW- my favorite way to cook steaks is to get a pan nice and hot with a little oil, sear them on the top and bottom for 3 minutes each, then bake them in the oven at 375 for about 8 minutes. A little less if you like them REALLY rare, a little more if you like them well. I prefer medium rare. Let them rest with a foil tent for about 10 minutes.) Then I just plated everything as we went.

So the pics. Of course the pics.

Mid-Prepping- potatoes in their water bath and lettuce ready to go.

This is how the table looked on Friday evening, minus the flowers. I always wipe down the china prior to the party, and the glasses are kept upside down so everything stays clean.

The appetizer plate was set up on the sideboard.

And then here is the table all set up and ready to go, candles lit...and backwards knives. I had a helper :)

Close up of the centerpiece. Hydrangeas, (one of my favorites!) and pink tulips were in my 3 hopper vases and some dimension was given by a small cake stand. Some simple tealight candles provided a nice glow. The only thing I had to buy was the flowers, so that was a bonus!

My last additional bonus tip is about the linens. This tablecloth isn't my favorite, however you wouldn't know that, because I have two of them. (My favorite is actually our green casual one :) ) I have them in two sizes, one that fits with both leaves in and one that fits with one or none. The best part about it, is that since they are the same, I only need one set of napkins to go with them. No matter what size party, I know I have a tablecloth and napkins to go with it!

So, that's the recap. Hopefully I provided enough detail. Maybe it was too much. I'll just say this, these posts are as much for me as they are for you. Sometimes, I forget my own tips, but I always love new ones, so feel free to share your dinner party tips in the comments!

Now stop reading and get out there and enjoy this lovely Sunday afternoon! I don't know about you but it is GORGEOUS here, so we're gearing up for a run!


  1. Looks beautiful! I also love hydrangeas! I am hoping to plant a few bushes this year when we redo our front landscaping!

    Also, since we have the same tablecloth/napkins, they are on clearance at BB&B (stores and websites!)


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