Throw a fabulous dinner party with 30 minutes’ notice
So you want to be one of those people who, on a whim, invites friends over for relaxed yet chic soirees but you’re also that person whose fridge contains only eye masks and a Diet Coke from 2007. Enter Meredith Steele, a recipe developer and blogger who has written a book on the subject of effortless entertaining. (Actually, that’s what her forthcoming cookbook is called.)
Here are her top tips for an “Oh, this? I just threw a few things together” fete: 1. Easy on the eats. “A cocktail party with a good cheese or charcuterie board and a few small bites is always a winner. I keep cheese, cured meats, nuts, olives, crackers and dried fruit on hand at all times just for this reason. Quick appetizers like crostini, dips, olives warmed in olive oil with garlic, herbs and citrus, and toasted nuts tossed with fresh herbs and sea salt are on my menu as well.” 2. Let your guests do the work. “Set up a self-serve bar. It’s easy to do and not only keeps everyone happy but also keeps you from working too hard throughout the night. Pick an area that can handle a lot of traffic and create a makeshift bar: large buckets filled with ice for wine and beer, a few select liquors and mixers, a jug of water and ice for drinks. If I have time, I’ll whip up a pitcher cocktail to pour for guests when they arrive. And if children will be attending, they get their own table with water, juice and snacks.” 3. Don’t try too hard. “Don’t fuss. Try to keep in mind that everyone knows you didn’t plan on having a party but they are certainly glad you did. It’s all about enjoying time with the people around you, and if that means you open the door in your bare feet, so be it.” s.l.