|be the perfect host/ess|
Choose foods that can be prepared ahead of time. Dips, spreads, fresh fruit and cheese platters can all be assembled well in advance and stored in the fridge. (Note: Donít store moist foods, such as cucumbers, dips, etc., with dry foods such as crackers Ö your dry goods will end up un-appetizingly soggy.) The fewer dishes that require last minute fussing-about, the better. This means that you should pretty much forget about doing anything fried Ė itís just too time-intensive, and you donít want to be slaving away in the kitchen while your guests are having fun without you. If youíre serving any hors-díouevres that absolutely demand to be experienced hot, consider cooking them in advance, then popping them in a pre-heated 375įF oven to warm up just before serving.
But how much to make?
As for how many different dishes to offer, thatís really up to you. In my experience, itís pretty much impossible for one person to cook more than 6 dishes in a single day without completely destroying the kitchen/going completely bonkers, but if youíve got a super-human capacity for concocting elaborate feasts, by all means go nuts. On the other hand, variety is nice, so youíll probably want to make at least 3 different dishes.
Just in case your guests are hungrier than youíd anticipated, keep no-prep appetizers stocked. Good choices include marinated olives, artichokes and red peppers, fancy nuts, potato chips and tortilla chips.