Tag Archives: entertaining

A Crabby Party

I love this adorable idea for a crab-inspired birthday party!  It’s perfect for our region, especially if you’re spending part of your summer even closer to the shore!  Click here for more pictures and ideas from Hostess with the Mostess!

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

499449715. – The Chicago Tribune Sliders Slip Easily into Party Mode“And fuss-free. In 45 minutes, Irr made two variations: tuna and black bean. Pan-fried, the sliders were served on mini-dinner rolls she found at the supermarket deli.”

4. – The Boston Globe Take Your Pick “A few varieties are particularly popular for baking and especially plentiful in October. Many area orchards have already started storing apples so local fruit will be available for Thanksgiving’s pie baking time.”

3. – The LA Times Stop and Smell the Ragu “And there are few dishes that are more pleasurable to make than ragù. Make no mistake: As wonderful as ragù is to eat, it’s just as much fun to fix.”

2. – The NY Times Matches Surge As Restaurant Giveaways “The objects of her specific adoration are blue-and-silver boxes, shaped like a lipstick (also known in the trade as an ascot), each of which contains 22 blue-tipped wooden strikes. Bearing Flora’s Art Deco logo, the matchboxes are the finishing touch on an ambience calculated to dislocate the present tense.”

1. – The Washington Post Eggs that Deserve Coddling “Most chefs I know refer to brunch disdainfully as the b-word. Aside from the fact that they generally are not morning people, their aversion comes down to this: Eggs can mean trouble.”

photo from The LA Times

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Turkey Day Countdown: Wine Time

wine-glassespreviewNow is a good time to get out to your local bottle shop and pick up the libations for your Thanksgiving dinner.  Every year the food and wine magazines have a hay-day debating which is the best wine to serve for this holiday so centered around the delicious meal and every year I find it so interesting as they recommend wines from albarino to zinfandel as the perfect “turkey” wine.

What I think is more important in selecting your wines is thinking about what you’re serving with the turkey.  From the oyster stuffing to brussel spouts with bacon to cranberry relish to the other 15 necessary dishes, the flavors of the sides served on Thanksgiving really set the tone for your pallete. This means a wine that not only tastes delicious, but has a perfect balance.  It needs the zest to cut through the cream-infused mashed potatoes, the complexity to enhance the subtle seasonings in the stuffing and the umph to stand up to the smorgasbord of all the flavors of the table combined.

I’ll be taking a cue from some my favorite wine writers…

Ray Isle’s picks at Food & Wine

Laurie Woolever’s picks for whites at Wine Spectator

Dave McIntyre’s picks at The Washington Post

Eric Asimov’s picks for bottles under $25 in The NY Times

So, think about what you’ll be serving and remember, it’s supposed to be enjoyable!

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Sun-Times Tips for Hosting an At-Home Election Night Party “You’ve decided to host an at-home Election Night party over Tuesday’s stressful shindig at your favorite political party’s headquarters so you can sweat, cheer, curse or cry while watching election returns with intimate friends of similar political persuasion.  What to serve? Political correctness aside, you could settle on nuts as the appetizer, bologna sandwiches for dinner and Ding Dongs for dessert. Therein — given the present economic climate — is the perfect menu for Election Night.”

4. – The Chicago Tribune Gruesomely Good “What we’re talking about here is produce that’s scary looking, not scary tasting (like that time you popped a tablespoon of wasabi in your mouth because you thought it was guacamole?). In reality, many of these fearsome foodstuffs are teddy bears, tastewise, with pleasant flavors masked behind the lumps and bumps and creases. And we all know that produce delivers buckets of nutrition–a fact that can frighten some kids more than Freddy Krueger.”

3. – The LA Times Day of the Dead is a High-Spirited Affair “A mug of warm champurrado, a soul-satisfying chocolate drink thickened with masa. Tamales like cornhusk offerings, wrapped gifts for the hungry guests. Sugar-dusted loaves of pan de muerto, the bread decorated with “bones” formed of dough. A plate of turkey smothered in a spicy black mole, as dense and dark and mysterious as the coming night.”

2. – The NY Times Calories Do Count “When you’re young and tap dance for a living, you don’t have to think much about the caloric impact of your next meal. But when three performers who spent the day rehearsing for “Shrek the Musical” walked into a restaurant on 42nd Street recently, they saw on the menu that a Japanese-style beef bowl had 1,090 calories. They decided to head down the street for a salad.”

1. – The Washington Post A Culinary Proposal for Election Night Parties “Just about everybody has been swept up in the drama of Campaign 2008. Unfortunately, that includes the PR masterminds at restaurants, bars, bakeries and convenience stores. · I’ve had the chance to “cast my vote” by ordering Obamalettes or McCainlettes at Silver Diner; Jager Bamas (a combo of Red Bull and Jagermeister) or McHitos (basically a mojito) at Degrees, the bar at the Georgetown Ritz-Carlton. Bethesda’s Burger Joint invited me to “go with my gut” as I chose between the McCain Burger, topped with “South-west influences like poblano chili and chipotle peppers,” and the Obama Burger, stacked with — wait for it — “authentic Vienna beef hot dog imported from Chicago.””

photo from The Chicago Tribune

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An Olympic Feast!

What better excuse to host a dinner party in front of the TV than the Olympics? Feast your senses on international cuisine by assembling the perfect smorgasbord of dishes from around the world. Your guests will be impressed by your culinary genius! And if you aren’t up to doing all the work yourself, turn it into a potluck by assigning each of your guests a country and letting them bring a dish to pass from there!

And if you’re looking to go really over the top, print out and make little flags for each dish out of wooden skewers. Number the backs of the flags, then give your guests blank sheets of paper to try and guess where they are all from. Have fun culinary gifts as prizes for the winners!

Here’s the menu from our party during the Opening Ceremony…

Click below for pictures of many of the featured dishes!

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A Blast from the Past – The Old Farmer’s Almanac

What’s better at removing beet-stains from hands than soap? Peeled potatoes.

How can you grow up to 10 times more produce in one space of your garden? Raise your beds.

What’s the minimum hours a day of sunshine most veggies need? 6.

What flower will leave your garden smelling like raspberry or vanilla? The Mignonette

What’s a good veggie to plant today? A tomato.

When is the next full solar eclipse? August 1st, 2008.

What publication provided accurate weather, astronomical, tidal forecasts and tips on farming and household life before from the time of weather.com and Martha Stewart? The Old Farmer’s Almanac, of course!

The Old Farmer’s almanac was one of many almanacs established during George Washington’s presidency. A yearly publication, there have been 216 editions, to date! This particular almanac’s longevity and success is due to its accuracy (during World War 2 it was discovered on a German spy and the U.S. government chastised it’s publishers for providing valuable weather information to the enemy!)

Inside you’ll find recipes, all kinds of information on planting and tending a garden, weather forecasts, astronomical forecasts, and little helpful and interesting tidbits. If it was a good source for farmers when most of the country was agricultural society, it is definitely good enough for my garden!

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The “Greenest” Easter Basket EVER!

 easterbasket2.jpg

Get ’em while their hot!  The National Cathedral Greenhouse is selling living Easter baskets!  Had we thought about it sooner, we would have grown our own, but since we didn’t, we headed over to the Cathedral this afternoon to pick up a couple and much to our delight, they are 50% off!

To spruce it up a bit, I strung a purple grosgrain ribbon through the handle and tied a bow.  Now all it needs is a little chocolate and jelly beans and it will be ready for Easter morning!

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