3 Ask guests ahead of time about any food
Thereís nothing worse than slaving all day over a beautiful roast
chicken only to discover that half your guests are vegetarian and wonít
touch your food. When in doubt, go vegetarian. Still Iíd recommend
checking on dietary quirks, just to be safe; you may discover that one
of your guests is vegan, another allergic to garlic Ö all
considerations that should be taken into account when preparing your
4 Choose dishes that can largely be prepared
ahead of time.
Wash, peel and chop up ingredients ahead of time; prepare
sauces in advance, if the sauce so allows. Blanche slower-cooking
veggies such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, etc. Ė youíll just
need to sautť them for a minute or two in the final sauce to reheat.
Avoid anything that requires hours of roasting Ö the hot oven will
turn the kitchen into a boiler room, and thereís nothing like
sweltering heat to make you feel even more frazzled than you already
5 Make enough for 2 more than the number of
people you expect.
Itís always better to have leftovers (you can enjoy them
for lunch the next day) than to be faced with skimping on portions
because your guests have bigger appetites than you anticipated. On the
other hand, you donít want to grossly overestimate your required
quantities, either, since no matter how tasty your dishes may be, you
donít want to be eating them twice a day for the next week.
6 Do the
dishes/load them in the dishwasher as youíre going along with the prep
Whenever you have a spare moment from cooking, wash the dirty dishes or
rinse and load them into the dishwasher. Itíll prevent them from
piling up unattractively on the countertops, and itíll help you work
more efficiently by keeping your workspace navigable.
7 Set out something tasty for guests to nibble
on when they arrive.
No doubt youíll still be in the kitchen, fussing around
with the final cooking and preparation of your food, when the first
guests start appearing on your doorstep. Set out some snacks before
everyone shows up -- give your guests something to munch on, so that
they wonít just be standing around idly, waiting for you to finish up
what youíre doing. A plate of antipasti, chips and salsa, raw veggies
and dip, hummus and pita, assorted nuts, will all work fine -- Iíd
avoid serving anything too heavy, however, as you donít want your
guests to spoil their appetites.