I've said this before and I'll say it again: I love dinner parties. I love intimate family dinners, elaborate planned meals with a group of select friends, and last night I was reminded of how much I love impromptu dinner parties. My mom ran into one of her best friends from college who asked us to come by her house for a quick drink. She lives in a beautiful house overlooking the bay and when we arrived, the house was filled with wonderful aromas of something delicious in the kitchen. Wine was poured, we got to talking and it turns out her husband had made a fresh pesto dish with basil fresh from his garden. He had the fixings for salad too and my dad happened to have a fresh baguette in his car that he had picked up at the Ferry building. I set the table in their dining room and BAM! instant dinner party! It was absolutely wonderful, good fun paired with fabulous food and company. But not everyone is like me and my hosts from last night, Dave and Michelle - so to learn a few tricks to pull off a successful last minute surprise dinner party,
- When guests unexpectedly show up at meal time, look carefully through your fridge and pantry to get an eye for what ingredients you have and what you can make.
- Choose pasta because it's filling, simple to make, and you can create a sauce with whatever components you have found: fresh herbs, canned tuna, tomatoes, or beans, leftover vegetables.
- Use day old bread to make crisp toasted garlic bread.
- Stock your pantry and fridge with dried goods, sauces, and vegetables. This way you will never be caught off guard on the nights when fate brings you a surprise guest. Have several bottles of wine on hand for effortless entertaining.
- The most important thing is to not freak out, keep things uncomplicated: it's more about spending quality time with long lost friends or visiting family members.