Friday, December 9, 2011

Dinner Party Timeline- Menu #1

Menu #1 - Blue Cheese Spread & Sliced Pears, Red Grape Caesar Salad, Individual Pizzas with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto, Ribolitta, and Amaretto Pound Cake a la Mode

Three Weeks Before
  • Find a co-host, if desired/needed
  • Arrange for a sitter if desired/needed
  • Send out invitations.
One Week-2 Days Before
  • Deep clean the house.
  • Follow up with any guests who have not given an RSVP.
  • Choose an outfit and have it ready-to-go.
  • Review recipes and make grocery list.
Day Before
  • Go grocery shopping for ice and all food items except for the pound cake and baguettes.
  • Shop for any other necessities such as unscented candles for the dinner table or fresh soap for the guest bathroom.
  • Clean the house. Since you've already done deep cleaning, this should be a bit less time-consuming.
  • Stock the guest bathroom- Include fresh towels, plenty of toilet paper, tissues, a scented candle, new or refilled soap, (and it wouldn't hurt to tuck away a plunger so you guest doesn't have to request it should they find themselves in need.) 
  • Make sure all dishes are clean and put away so your dish washer is ready for tomorrow's prep-work!
  • Set the dinner table with place-settings and any decorations.
  • Designate a beverage station for your guests to enjoy with their appetizers.
Morning Of
  • Go to your local bakery for the pound cake and baguettes.
  • Review the remainder of the timeline.
Three and a Half Hours Before
  • Get yourself ready.
Two and a Half Hours Before
  • Take goat cheese, cream cheese, blue cheese, and parmesan out of the refrigerator.
  • Prepare your mise en place. Get out all appetizer and dinner ingredients as well as all measuring tools, other prep tools, cooking equipment, and serving dishes. (I like to have a working surface or two and a separate surface for holding the ingredients.) Wash, dry thoroughly, and cut as directed the romaine, green onions, other onions, carrots, and celery. Drain and rinse beans for the soup. Cover the romaine and place back in the refrigerator until later. Cover beans all remaining vegetables except for the 7 onions for the pizza and the green onions.
  • Make the Blue Cheese Spread.
1 Hour Before
  • Start caramelizing the onions for the pizzas.
45 Minutes Before
  • Make the Ribollita and allow to simmer until ready to serve.
25-20 Minutes Before (For this last bit, it helps to have a co-host who can help you with last-minute food prep and help you welcome your guests.)
  • Prepare pizza dough into individualized pizzas. (It's okay that you're not doing this sooner. Your guests will need time to socialize and enjoy the appetizers, so the pizzas won't go in the oven until after the first guests arrive.)
  • Slice the prosciutto.
  • Grate parmesan for the soup and salad.
10 Minutes Before
  • Start the music! (Italian playlist coming soon!)
  • Slice pears, arrange on a serving dish, and set out.
  • Slice baguettes. Arrange one next to cheese spread and keep the other in reserve. Set out.
  • Stock beverage station with chosen drinks and ice.
  • Light the candle in the bathroom.
5 Minutes Before
  • Slice the grapes for the salad.
  • Place romaine in the salad bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
 10 Minutes After the Guests Have Arrived
  • Bake dough for 5 minutes.
  • Top dough with onions and goat cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Top the pizzas with the prosciutto, slice and arrange on serving platter. 
  • Place all food on table or buffet station and announce that dinner's ready!
After Dinner
  • Assess whether or not your guests need a bit of time to digest before dessert.
  • When ready, arrange and serve dessert. 

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