|be the perfect host/ess||.||
how to have a last-minute dinner party by Yee-Fan Sun | 1 2 3
continued from page 1
3 Focus the meal on a single dish. Pasta paired with your favorite sauce, stir-fry or curry or gumbo with rice, "homemade" pizza on store-bought crusts -- what you want here is a main dish that's basically a complete meal in itself. Because if you want to make your life easy you'll be wise to…
4 Think minimalist when it comes to side dishes -- or skip them altogether. As long as you make up a generous quantity of the main dish, no one will miss them. If you're really worried the table will look too empty, round out the meal with a simple tossed salad and a loaf of good bread. Serving up stir-fry? Throw together a quick-and-easy egg-drop soup (boil chicken broth, stir in egg) for a no-fuss accompaniment.
5 Cheat a little if it'll make your life easier -- combine bought food and homemade. Pick up some naan bread and samosas from your favorite Indian restaurant to go along with that dal dish you're making, or some spring rolls from the Thai place as a starter for your homemade pad thai. Just make sure you take the extra time to take the goodies out of the little white take-out container and arrange them on a nice dish. For extra brownie points, garnish.
6 Pick up some ready-to-go appetizers. Cheese, olives, marinated artichokes, sliced salami, and prosciutto all make for very tasty pre-dinner nibbles, and require no more work on your part than arranging the goodies attractively on a platter. Bowls of nuts and good quality chips are also good for tiding guests over until mealtime. To go along with an Asian-inspired main menu, offer up some boiled edamame (served salted) or lightly boiled sugar snap peas (toss with salt and toasted sesame oil).