I'm in the middle of planning a dinner party for this Friday night. How do you plan parties? Do you have a list of recipes you always make? Or do you use the party as an excuse to try something new?
I like to try something new. Cooking for two may sound easy if you regularly cook for 4 or more, but it does have its limitations. Try making a leg of lamb roast for two and you'll be eating the leftovers for a week. Even something as small as a whole chicken is too much for two people - unless you use the leftovers to make chicken stock.
The advantage of a roast (beef, lamb or pork are the usual suspects) is that it typically only needs minimal work at the beginning and the end - leaving you with a good hour or two of hands-off cooking. After spending one too many dinner parties in the kitchen, trying to saute chicken breasts at the last minute, I'm a convert to the large roast. Or anything, really, that does the bulk of its cooking in the oven. Lasagnas and other baked pastas are great for that reason, too.
I also like to let the weather and the seasons guide my decisions. And although spring has finally come to Michigan, it still cools down at night, making my debate between something lighter (and more spring-like) and heavier (to combat the chill) that much tougher.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on party planning. Leave a comment and let me know how you do it. Are you inspired by food magazines? Or a new cookbook? Or would you rather meet your friends at a restaurant and avoid the cooking altogether?