When my kids were little we entertained in our home frequently. Often, the moms would be in the kitchen drinking wine and my late husband would gather the dads at the grill outside while they burned our dinner standing right in front of it.
From the kitchen I would see the smoke billowing out of the grill and would poke my head out the back door and politely inquire as to timing for the side dishes. My husband would then spring into action and rescue the meat declaring it, “Cajun” style. As many people dislike charred food resembling shoe leather I devised recipes that I could cook while entertaining my girlfriends. They had to lack any degree of time sensitivity, be mostly made in advance, and require absolutely no supervision.
My lovely slow roasted pork with tangerines and red wine was born. This served over pre-made rigatoni noodles with an herb salad and French bread was a vast improvement.
As I went along, I devised recipes that could be timed with a return to the refrigerator for another glass of wine. Recipes included chicken breasts stuffed with prosciutto, goat cheese and pesto served with roasted red potatoes. I would set the table and prepare everything in advance including the salad. I would put the toppings for the salad in a ramekin right in the salad bowl and put the dressing next to it. In those days I made fresh salad dressing every time.
Before my guests arrived I would throw everything in the oven. Upon their arrival, I would pour some wine, and sit down with them. On my return trip to the kitchen for more wine I would turn the potatoes and pull out the salad. When it was time to refill glasses again, I moved everyone to the dining room, pulled dinner out of the oven and threw it on a platter, tossed the salad, and served it all family style.
For dessert I had vanilla ice cream on hand with lots of toppings and could make individual cups of coffee with my Italian coffee maker that sat on my dining room side board.
Later, we moved this entire process to our Tahoe cabin. I remember those days fondly and I so grateful that I have so many happy memories of family and friends. Because my husband died so young I’m thankful for all of the wonderful times we did have together. Being able to cook and enjoy your own dinner party comes with countless blessings. Please let me know if you want recipes and I will pull them from the archives.
Love and blessings to all.