The party was a big success, so my boyfriend says. I'm fairly self-critical, and having 9 people eat five recipes that I made felt like putting little pieces of myself out there on a plate and waiting for people to express their opinions. It was a big frightening. Overall, though, I think people liked it.
Picking the menu was the hardest part. It took me several hours to finalize and get rid of things people didn't like and ensure that there was a range of colors on the table. Here is what I ended up with.
crostata with apples, walnuts, and gorgonzola
crostata with mushrooms and pancetta
one of the girls brought a cheese ball. yum.
chicken picatta with pasta
sweet & salty tomato salad
another girl brought a reese's brownie cup. also yum.
What was left of the crostata...
my flower arrangement...
the sangria in my fun pitcher...
making the sangria...
All of the recipes turned out well. Prepping everything ahead of time was smart, but cooking the chicken for so many during the party was a little hard (luckily I had some help from two friends that were here). If I did it again I would cook it ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven until it was ready to serve.
This was the best Sangria recipe I've made, but it definitely gets better with time. I think I let mine sit about 12 hours and I can imagine that it will be even better today.
The crostata was really good, and it doesn't get less good as it cools off, so it was a nice appetizer. It was fairly simple. I'm not really a pastry girl, but I did make my own crust. The recipe came from this book:
While we ate, we sat at the dining room table and everyone reminisced about their college days. I'm the only one that didn't go to school with them (as I only moved here two years ago), but it was fun to hear more stories (I know this group of people from my boyfriend). We chatted about one of the couple's wedding at the beginning of April and relived moments from that (there was an open bar...). We laughed, we cried, and then everyone went home.
Before I go, I wanted to leave you with a few of my thoughts on the dinner party (or maybe just dinner parties in general) :
1. It isn't a good idea to drink two glasses of sangria before you're supposed to follow a recipe.
2. Using almost a whole box of butter is okay when you aren't the one eating it all.
3. Don't tell people to bring drinks if you want them to drink what you made and bought.
Now, I have to go clean up what's left of the mess (my boyfriend cleaned up most of it last night after he told me to go to bed :) ).
Do you have dinner parties where you cook all the food? Where do you find your menu? What's your favorite meal that you've had at someone else's house?