Light and “lively” entertaining: simple dinner party ideas

MJ and I love to throw dinner parties. Typically, we end up cooking Indian food or something else that’s equally complicated or heavy.

Last night we had people over and I decided to go simple.

1) I didn’t have all day to prepare (it was sort of last minute on everyone’s part)
2) Our guests, while foodies, tend to be more snackers than big meal type of people
3) I’ve been working really hard to get my body back from it’s unnatural post-vacation state and I didn’t feel like having a big meat-, carb-, or sauce-heavy meal was going to get me there any sooner.

I really wish I had taken a picture to show you how gorgeous this ended up being. And, more importantly, I can’t even explain how easy it was to put together.

Essentially, we had a local food party. It consisted of freshly picked spinach and arugula, mushrooms, yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, tabbouleh (made with fresh mint and parsley), roasted golden beets, heirloom tomatoes, raw organic almonds (okay, not so local), locally baked bread, locally made cheese (one goat and one made from raw cow’s milk) organic extra virgin olive oil, baba ganoushe and hummus from the local Coop, corn on the cob, and some Quinoa Peruvian Stew that I happened to have in the fridge.

Instead of making a salad, I put out everything in multicolored mix-matched bowls that facilitated not only custom meals, but also easy snacking.

I served the snacky stuff on a wooden tray table out on the deck (before it got chilly and we were forced to move indoors for the main course, which was comprised of the tabbouleh, the stew (served in tiny little bowls) and the corn.

I also served the wine, which meant that I controlled the pours. Since MJ and I are in the process of tasting some of the wine we bought in Mendocino, I did have a single glass of each of the bottles; however, I split the difference between MJ and our guests. Everyone was happy. And because there were so many vegetables (all of which tasted great with the wine), it was easy to munch without feeling bad about it or (God forbid) feeling deprived!

It was really delicious and really easy. Normally when I invite people over, I always think that you have to really do something hard or impressive. Though, in all fairness, that’s probably because I’m a bit shy and would rather be in the kitchen instead of in the conversation.

This time. with a few exceptions, we ate what we normally eat: salad, soup, corn, and sometimes (though not often) bread. Granted, we normally don’t have goat cheese or wine with dinner, but we were having guests. Although I enjoy the big dinner party, there was something nice about just having someone over for a meal. In some ways, it’s way more intimate, as you’re inviting someone for the company, not necessarily the food. It was also easier for me to just enjoy the evening.

So next time you invite someone over, keep it simple. Put your energy into the conversation and put the preparation on the back burner. And if you have other simple entertaining strategies, please pass them on!


Photo Credit: Rock Walker

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: