Guest Blogger: Sam the Cooking Guy
Here’s an interesting thought: entertaining doesn’t mean having to do all the work yourself. No really, it doesn’t. I think people get freaked about entertaining because they feel they have to do everything by themselves, and all at the last minute - and that isn’t true. So I have 4 simple rules to make life much easier for you when you do choose to have a party – and clearly it’s the season for it, so read on:
1. Make ahead
Unless you require a delicate sauce at the last minute, or you’re timing out something from the oven give yourself a break and make as much as you can in advance. Enchiladas are wonderful, but even better when made the day before and simply reheated. Salads can be built, dressing made and kept in the fridge until needed and then tossed.
2. Don’t Feel You Need to Make Everything Yourself
Making a couple dishes and buying a couple is completely acceptable. Not only will it save you time, but will likely save you grief and stress. Just make ‘em good dishes. Seek out a great deli for an antipasti or cheese board or just buy a great selection of olives & cheeses – it’s so worth it.
3. Room Temp is the Right Temp
As a rule, you wouldn’t serve room temperature or cold filet in the winter months, but summer means relaxed rules for food. So cooking steaks or seafood ahead of your guests’ arrival not only means less work at the last second, but you can take your time getting it to the right doneness without the pressure of onlookers. So make a filet, a whole salmon, whatever beforehand – then simply slice and serve at your leisure.
4. Ask Guest to Bring Something
People are generally so happy to be invited over (and not entertain themselves) they’re fine with bringing something. But be specific, cuz if you leave it to them you might be disappointed. Ask 3 people to bring a side dish, and you might get 3 pasta salads. Give instructions: bring a Caesar salad, bring grilled vegetables, bring good garlic bread…you get the idea. And for those who can’t cook, put them on wine, cocktails or anything they can’t mess up.
It’s not complicated, but it does take a little planning – though well worth it in the end.