Monday, January 10, 2011

The Rookie Throws a Dinner Party

This year, I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I've vowed to try new things, to test my own boundaries, and to put myself out there for the world to see. My first step? Throwing a dinner party.

I've been dreaming about this dinner party for months now. It's kept me up at night, brainstorming about what theme to go with, what entrĂ©e to serve, which appetizers would be easy and light, even down to what I was going to serve each dish on. It's been a blast planning it all out and buying all the new serving wear that I didn't have. One shopping trip included a lovely afternoon hitting antique shops with my girl friend, Shiann, searching for the perfect cake pedestal... and I actually wound up with two! Determined that this party was going to happen, I marked it on the calendar and sent out the facebook invitations. As long as people showed up, a dinner party was going to happen... no backing out.

The Menu

Crostini Alla Romana
Toasted Ravioli, with Marinara & Alfredo for Dipping

Winter Minestrone

Vodka, with Cranberry and Lemon-Lime Soda

            Italian Cream Cake

But as the date approached I found myself becoming very apprehensive. I had chosen to keep the guest list small to keep costs and stress down for me, since it would be the first dinner party I'd ever hosted, and when one of my guests came down with pneumonia and couldn't come I was afraid I might have to cancel it. All that dreaming and planning and anticipation... I saw it all ending in a disappointing night with Dane and I stuck eating pizza and watching movies by ourselves. But I quickly invited a few more people, and by Saturday morning it looked as though we'd have enough people to have a successful party.

And then I started cooking.

Looking back now, it probably would have been a good idea to have tested my recipes before the day of my party. But due to financial and time constraints I never got around to it, and I found myself cooking recipes I'd never tried before, hoping to all-mighty God that they tasted as good as they sounded. My heart sank as I noted an unfamiliar (and not necessarily pleasant) odor coming from my pot, while my pancetta sauteed with the rest of the base for my minestrone soup. I'd never cooked with pancetta before... was it supposed to smell like that? What if the soup - my main course! - tasted terrible? What if everyone left my party hungry and unsatisfied? What if I didn't have enough of everything else to fill everyone up? What if my party was a complete failure?

But by this point, I had no choice but to run with it.

And guess what... the party was a huge success. :)

Everyone showed up right on time. The appetizers were a hit... in fact, the ravioli disappeared almost as soon as they hit the table! We kept it light and casual... everyone helped themselves to apps and drinks in the kitchen, and ate in the living room while Maroon 5 played in the background. My heart was pounding as I ladled out the soup into my new pretty white bowls... "please Lord, at least let it taste 'ok'"... and before I could even serve myself a bowl I heard "Yum..." and "Oh my gosh..." coming from my living room. The soup was such a hit that people even asked for the recipe and for leftovers to take home!

We spent the rest of the evening playing games and laughing as Dane and Ryan competed to see who could drink more of the punch. I served the cake after our second game of Apples to Apples, to more "ooh"s and "aah"s.

Everyone left full and I happy. And that night, I went to bed a very happy hostess. :)

As expected (and requested!) I will be posting recipes for all of the dishes I served for this party. Look for another post containing these very soon!

In the meantime, thank you to all of my lovely friends who came and made my very first dinner party a huge success! I look forward to throwing many more, and to many more fabulous times with all of you! Ciao until next time!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessica, This is a really great party you threw, wouldn't know you were a rookie. Looks like everyone had fun. Hope you have a great week.


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