Friday, August 7, 2009

Impromptu Dinner with Friends

Last Sunday we had an impromptu dinner party at our house with our friends Geoff and Kim. The four of us were out all day together on a flying adventure and decided to enjoy dinner together. I had made a Fava Bean Crostini the night before, so the appetizer was taken care of. Now for the starter course – I was inspired by all of the fresh corn from Brentwood and decided to make a corn soup on Saturday night. With soup, there is typically enough for an army, so I was able to check off the starter for our dinner.

Now onto the main course - I purchased from Trader Joe’s the Mango/Papaya Salsa and fresh Salmon. In addition, my neighbor recently took a trip to Alaska and caught Halibut and brought over a couple wonderful filets for us to enjoy. For the side dish, cut up carrots and blanched them. Just before serving, sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Dessert was super simple – coffee ice cream with chilled espresso poured over it. I used the instant espresso powder and diluted with hot water, then chilled.

Our friend Geoff makes his own beer at home and brought a bottle of his stout over for us to enjoy. It was absolutely delicious! We also enjoyed a bottle of Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It is one of my favorites with the forward flavors of citrus, grapefruit, herbaceous aromas and firm acidity. Wonderful with seafood and vegetables.

Five Tips to Impromptu Dining:
Appetizers can be as simple as cheese and crackers or small frozen appetizers you simply heat up in the oven. Keep puff pastry in your freezer at all times, you create simple appetizers with just a few ingredients.

(2) Make it simple! Create quick pasta dishes by adding some fresh ingredients and your guests will think you spent hours creating. Toss together a simple salad.

(3) Keep the basics on hand at all times for last minute get dinners.

(4) Set your table with fresh flowers from the garden, along with nice linens and candles. Your guests will be impressed and think you are the “hostess with the mostess”.

(5) Have your favorite music playing in the background to add to the ambiance. I create different play lists on my ipod, so I have the right background music ready at all times. I have a cocktail mix, dinner music and background sounds.


Appetizer: Fava Bean Crostini with Parmesan, Lemon and Thyme.
Starter: Corn Soup with Bacon & Chives
Main Course: Pan roasted Salmon and Halibut with Mango/Papaya Salsa and sautéed Carrots
Dessert: Coffee Ice Cream with Espresso

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