Tips for Entertaining – ChatterTip October 2012

Beetlebung Farm © Gabriela Herman

As previously mentioned the sign of Libra makes the “perfect host.” So with the Holidays approaching, I decided for this month’s tips to give you some Tips for Entertaining. Well, the tips are from a few “entertaining experts” not necessarily me!

Here are the TOP TEN TIPS for Entertaining from Clinton Kelly:

  1. Let the Party Reflect Your Taste (it is after all, your party! When I got my Green Card all those years ago, I hosted a Green Card Party where everyone had to wear something green, and all the food I served was green as well!)
  2. Illuminate with Candlelight (everyone looks better in candlelight!)
  3. Arrange an Attention-Getting Centerpiece (doesn’t have to be too complicated or expensive – mason jars filled with fresh flowers or herbs, or how about some decorative gourds and miniature pumpkins, for example?)
  4. No Paper Napkins but Linen (this is all well and good for a small dinner party, but come on Clinton, who honestly has the time to iron all those linen napkins – so a lot of people are going to go with paper ones!)
  5. Create a Child-Friendly Zone (if children are invited, that is, but it’s always good to give them their own little table and/or space.)
  6. Invest in some Stove-to-Table Cookware (looks nice and saves on the washing-up!)
  7. View, Unobstructed (nothing worse than sitting across from someone and not being able to see or talk with them properly because of some too-tall candles or giant floral table decoration!)
  8. Plan for Very Thirsty, Very Hungry Guests (may sound obvious, but for goodness sake, have plenty of everything rather than running out – always offer a drink as soon as they arrive, have a self-serve bar set up so you don’t have to make drinks all night, and have some “nibbles” for them to eat already set out.)
  9. Think Outside the Dinner Table (if you can’t do a big sit-down dinner, then have a nice cocktail party with lots of great hors d’oeuvres.)
  10. Be Mindful of Space (for a dinner party, don’t invite so many people that they’re going to be cramped with not enough places for them to all sit down comfortably!)
© Gabriela Herman

And from one of my own favorites, Ina Garten, aka Barefoot Contessa(not to be confused with Margo Pinkerton who is a different Barefoot Contessa) from her original book “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook”:

Here are Ina Garten’s TEN NO-COOK things to serve with drinks!

  1. Salted Marcona Almonds (or any other Nuts of your choosing…)
  2. Halved Fresh Figs wrapped in a small slice of Prosciutto.
  3. Fromage Blanc mixed with chopped Fresh Green Herbs, Salt & Pepper, and served with Crackers.
  4. Smoked Salmon served on small squares of thinly sliced and buttered Brown Bread (decorate each one with a tiny sprig of Dill, and/or a single Caper.)
  5. Smoked Salmon served on store-bought Blinis served with Crème Fraiche (& preferably Vodka!)
  6. Slices of Spicy Salami with slices of Seedless Cucumbers (or quality Pickles).
  7. Store-bought Hummus topped with a drizzle of Olive Oil & some toasted Pine Nuts and served with triangles of toasted Pitta Bread.
  8. Endive Leaves (or maybe Celery) stuffed with creamy Gorgonzola Cheese.
  9. Foie Gras with some Fig Jam served on Toasts (& preferably a glass of Sauternes. And if Foie Gras is too complicated, how about a nice store-bought Pâté?)
  10. Cheese Straws (one of my favorites!)

Thanks also to photographer Gabriela Herman for letting us use some of her lovely images from her “Beetlebung Farm” story.

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