The Dinner Party

The dinner party was a success, so I’m told.

The food was delicious (IMO) and a good time was had by all – if laughter and animated conversation are an indicator.

I decided on a different approach this time. In the past I’ve made dishes that could all be made in advance…  if not entirely, at least the major portion. Plus I relied on my oven for most of the cooking, doing roasts or braises, roasting the vegetables, and so on.

This dinner was Chinese-inspired and all the cooking needed to be done, or finished, just before serving.

Even the dessert, Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp (recipe tomorrow) was done at the last minute so it would still be warm when I served it.

This was the corner of my kitchen devoted to organizing the dishes.

kitchen_b In preparing a dinner like this organization is key.

I did all the prep work, cutting and chopping in the afternoon. I measured all the liquids for each dish and put them in small containers. I grouped all the little bowls of ingredients by dish and laid the recipe on top.

Then we set the table. Since it was Chinese-themed I gave everyone the option of using chopsticks – and everyone did…. for the first course, anyway.

table_b I had the best of intentions to take photos of everything. The camera was in the kitchen, ready to go.

Well, we all know what the road to hell is paved with, now, don’t we?

Things got crazy, I got busy, the dishes didn’t come together as seamlessly as anticipated and the camera was forgotten.

But I can give you links to the recipes.

The menu:

For the apéro I made Strawberry Sangria with rosé wine – very pretty and tasted of spring. With it we had crisps and nuts.

For the first course I made Red Sauced Shrimp and Chinese Asparagus Salad. I served 5 medium-sized shrimp and a spoonful of salad per person.

For the main course I made Kung Pao Chicken On a Bed of Spinach, simple Basmati Rice and Sweet and Pungent Carrots.

We followed that with a platter of five cheeses.

Dessert was the Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp with a bowl Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar, garnished with vanilla ice cream.

This is what the table looked like this morning.

Not too bad, really.

table_a Oh yes, to finish we had coffee, chocolates and liqueurs in the living room…. photo also from this morning.

living I spent a bit of time sorting out the mess last night so it wasn’t too terrible when we got up.

kitchen_a But there were a lot of dishes to wash…. We were eight, after all.

    • 40 glasses
    • 32 plates
    • 64 pieces of flatware
    • 8 cups and saucers
    • Assorted serving dishes, platters, bowls and utensils
    • Assorted pots, pans, skillets and little bowls for ingredients
    • 2 dog dishes

    Wait…. We didn’t wash the dog dishes. kitchen_table There are times when a dishwasher would come in handy. I did the glasses, flatware and half of the plates.  Mon mari finished.

    Leftovers for dinner tonight.

    6 thoughts on “The Dinner Party”

    1. Sounds like everyone had a wonderful time! And your table was decorated just right. Thanks for the menu, but I take it the carrots didn’t make the menu at the last minute though?

      Dishwashers are nice, but if there’s usually only two, it takes a week to fill them and I don’t like waiting that long. When we were first married, I washed by hand, I imagine even with a dishwasher now, when DD2 moves out and we’re back to two, I’ll be hand washing again.

    2. nightsmusic, , thanks…. We used to have a dishwasher but never used it, so didn’t bother here. The link for the carrots was broken – fixed it!

    3. Sounds like a fabulous time was had by all – eating, drinking and being merry !!! I could not live without a dishwasher – my hat is off to you for managing without !!

    4. We do use our dishwasher especially when we have a big party but inevitably there is a lot of hand washing to do, too. I can’t face the mess in the morning so we always do the dishes the same night.

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