I love any excuse to entertain, so when Jordan’s friend started dating his new (much younger) girlfriend, I jumped at the chance to have them both over for dinner. I mean how else am I supposed to get to know (read: judge) her? It turns out she was lovely, mature for her 26 years and made excellent conversation about The Real Housewives.
I never try to complicate appetizers and focus most of my attention on dinner. I always have crackers, mixed nuts and good olives on hand, just in case. I supplement these basics with 2-3 good cheeses, cured meats and fig spread. Jordan and I conveniently live upstairs from Malt and Mold, an artisanal cheese shop, so good cheese is never far away. Remember to always leave a small dish out for the olive pits. You don’t want your guests awkwardly putting them on the table or secretly palming them.
Jordan and I eat on our coffee table most nights, but when we have guests I try to utilize our dining room table to keep things a little bit more formal. Using cloth napkins (similar here) and placemats is also a nice touch and helps with an easy cleanup.
I always ask about dietary restrictions and preferences before planning a menu. Nothing is worse than inviting a vegetarian over for a steak dinner. Thankfully in this party there were none, so I decided to go with a seasonal chicken dish from a cookbook that I’ve been meaning to try. Jordan’s friend gifted us Jerusalem: A Cookbook for our wedding and this was the perfect opportunity to make Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak. Here is the adapted recipe I found on Epicurious.
When guests ask if they can bring anything, I usually take them up on the offer. I think giving guests a task actually makes them feel like they are contributing. I personally hate showing up anywhere empty-handed, and usually bring flowers or wine even when I’m told to just bring myself. I left dessert up to the new couple and they didn’t disappoint with the sampler box from Eclair Bakery.
I always save cleaning up for after our guests leave and never let them help, even if they offer. The routine of washing dishes gives me and J a chance to catch up with each other and reflect on how the night went. A perfect end to a perfect evening.