Friday, September 13, 2013

Pre-race dinner party

One of my resolutions this year was to entertain at home at least 6 times, with at least 3 times including people who haven't ever come over for dinner before. 

So tonight we invited over all the people I know running Berlin this year, along with their spouses/dates.  Our head count tonight will be 10, so just under what we consider "fire code capacity" for a dinner party for our house.  It means that we put both leaves in our table, and use 4 chairs that won't match.  We'll also have to either use stainless silverware for everyone, or use our good silver for most people, and stainless for us (or us and another couple, I don't remember right now if we have service for 6 or 8, and I'm too lazy to go upstairs and look).  But fortunately we have enough plates that it will all match.  Not sure about wine glasses, but if everyone drank beer, we'd be okay with that. 

I'm freaking out because I have a ton of prep work to do, and of course I have to work today.  But at least if I make a list here, I will be more organized?  Fortunately, hubby is off today and he isn't a fan of doing lots of dinner party prep, but usually if I can get him started on some kind of slicing or dicing, he's a machine and he'll do prep for hours!  It's just a matter of knowing what all I should ask him to do to be the most help. 

On the menu tonight:

Pre-dinner cocktail

Berlin blonde using this recipe.
Tasks I can delegate:  all
Timing:  I wonder if we can put enough for 4 servings in our cocktail shaker, and enough for 8 more in two glasses the same size and keep in the fridge until people get here, and then mix?  I've never pre-mixed cocktails before


Spinach artichoke dip -- I should be able to pull this together in about 15 minutes and stick it in the fridge until it goes in the oven. 
Task I can delegate:  chopping artichokes.
Timing:  assemble at lunch, into oven at 6:00

Carrot-olive crostini -- I should be able to pull this together in about 15 minutes and stick it in the fridge, then toast the crostini and add this to heat briefly right before people arrive.
Task I can delegate:  making the carrot and olive spread in the food processor. 
Timing:  make spread during day, toast bread at 6:00, add spread, toast more at 6:25

Apple taleggio crostini -- fairly easy but takes some time to pull together. 
Task I can delegate:  slicing apples. 
Timing:  all needs to be done at 6:00 or later -- ugh!

Veggie plate -- three colors of bell peppers, plus baby carrots.
Task I can delegate:  slicing peppers
Timing:  chop during the day, if there's room in the fridge even arrange on plate, put out when doorbell rings

Chips -- tortilla chips in a bowl!
Task I can delegate:  pouring in a bowl -- the first people to arrive can even do this!
Timing:  6:25

Cannellini-garlic dip
Task I can delegate:  none, I do this one
Timing:  during the day

Creamy avocado dip
Task I can delegate:  none
Timing:  during the day

Salsa -- from a jar
Task I can delegate:  pouring into a bowl -- first guests can also get this task if it's out of control
Timing:  6:15


Zucchini shittake lasagna -- possibly a new recipe, but seems pretty straight-forward.
Task I can delegate:  dicing zucchini and preparing mushrooms
Timing:  during the day, put in fridge, into oven around 6:30 (after crostini come out)

Kaesespaetzle -- a German version of macaroni and cheese essentially, new recipe, but seems pretty easy since I'm not making the spaetzle from scratch.
Task I can delegate:  slicing onions, grating the cheese
Timing:  during the day, put in fridge, into oven around 6:40, about 10 mins after lasagna

German baked red beets -- new recipe on the German theme, possibly with some yellow beets depending on what came home from the grocery store.  Beets, lemon, olive oil, honey, thyme.
Task I can delegate:  slicing the beets (and I'll remind him to wear gloves so he doesn't have red hands)
Timing:  afternoon assembly, into oven about 5:00, get it completely cooked, then just reheat around 6:45

Sweet and sour spiced red cabbage -- another new German recipe. 
Task I can delegate:  chopping cabbage, chopping apple, getting out all the spices
Timing:  hopefully afternoon, then reheat?  Looks like the cabbage needs to cook 20-30 mins, then another 35 with all the ingredients. 


Individual black forest cakes -- I even bought more ramekins so we'd have enough.  I've made this recipe a couple other times and it is awesome.
Task I can delegate:  putting cherries into ramekins
Timing:  most difficult.  I think I'll try to assemble all dry ingredients in the morning on a break, then mix around 6:00?  Then put in the oven to bake around 7:30?  I wonder if I could bake them earlier and reheat them in the oven before serving? 

Wow, I see about 10 hours of work needed to pull this together.  If I try to finish work early today, and hubby preps most of the day, maybe it will all come together?  Yikes!  I hate biting off more than I can chew, but I love so much having people over for a meal like this! 


  1. This menu sounds awesome!!!! I wanna come!

    I think you might have inspired me to have a little Oktoberfest party later this month, just so I can justify making that german mac and cheese! Let us know how it turns out! Everything sounds delicious.

    Good luck! I'm sure you'll pull it off. It's easier than running a goal marathon, right?

    1. Much easier! Maybe KOB could text me tonight and say that kaesespaetzle doesn't taste as good as goal time... I'll email you the recipe if it turns out well.

  2. I think your menu sounds fantastic. My husband loves cabbage. Any chance you could share your sweet and sour cabbage recipe?

    1. Absolutely! I'll include it in my recap of the most recent 10 recipes (prob in October), or I'll email it to you!