The name of this post is a bald-faced lie. A ruse, a marketing hook to make you read on.
You see, there truly is no such thing as effortless entertaining. But you can make it look effortless. All it takes is a little ... effort.
Ah, delicious irony.
In point of fact, there is a perfect inverse relationship to the amount of effort you put into entertaining, and the amount perceived. Cut corners and skimp on prep, and you will look like a crazed weasel throwing pans and dishes around. Make a plan and start well in advance, and food magically appears as if on command from a sparkling clean kitchen.
DPaul and I entertain a lot, and over the years we've developed a few tips and tricks. We've learned a lot from über-organized kitchen mavens like our friends Anita and Kathleen, and DPaul himself, being one of the more detail-oriented people I've ever met, brings a lot to the table, so to speak.
Planning and organization is everything. We may start working on a dinner party two or three days in advance, more if we're charting new territory. Case in point, we recently hosted an Iberian-themed dinner for eight at our house, and I thought it worth documenting our processes (and recipes) for posterity.
We conceived a five-course menu (elucidated in future posts):
- A mixed plate of cured meats, cheeses and grapes.
- White gazpacho
- Pimientos piquillos rellenos de bacalao en salmorejo
- Carne de porco com amêijoas à alentejana
- Crema catalana
Normally, I have little trepidation about trying out new material on guests, even those that have never been to our house before. But this time, we were having among our guests one notable chef who specializes in Spanish fare. (Ballsy of me, no?) And while I know that chefs and foodies are in fact generally more appreciative than overcritical, I still wanted everything to be just so.
And you know what? It was.
So please follow me on a multi-post excursion exploring the ins and outs of entertaining in the Castello di Noi.