Speaking Point: It is simply not worth entertaining at home if it creates more stress in your life. Many people shy away from home entertaining because of the stress alone. Entertaining expert and caterer to the stars, Denise Vivaldo, reveals how to wow your guests without breaking a sweat (or your budget).
Speaking Point: 10. Everything looks better in the light of votives. Stock up at the .99 Cent store and let them twinkle the night away.
Speaking Point: 9. Run out of room in the refrigerator? Chill drinks in the washing machine. When the ice melts, let the water drain. Transfer the icy-cold drinks to the serving area just before guests arrive.
Speaking Point: 8. Hire senior-level prep help from the local tech school or junior college’s culinary art’s program. They need the experience and you need the help.
Speaking Point: 7. Sharpen those knives! This tip alone cuts prep time in half, easily. If you live in a smaller town that doesn’t have a fancy culinary store, take your knives to a local taxidermist-they’ll know what to do.
Speaking Point: 6. Organize your shopping list by grocery departments. The few minutes you spend categorizing your list will save you hours at the store. Also be sure to take a calculator with you to quickly calculate the appropriate package sizes for your larger quantity recipes.
Speaking Point: 5. No time for a six-layer cake? Create a build-your-own-tart bar. Make shortbread or piecrust cups the week before (or purchase from a bakery) and freeze until the day of the party. Whip together a bar of cream cheese and a small jar of marshmallow crème for a fluffy sweet filling. Arrange empty tart shells with bowls of filling, along with bowls of fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cut strawberries, bananas, slice d almonds, candied citrus peel, shaved chocolate, shredded coconut…and let your guests make their own “dream tart”.
Speaking Point: 4. Xerox all your recipes and tape them to your cabinets. They’ll stay out of the way of your cooking area and hang right at eye-level. As you complete, rip them down and revel in a sense of accomplishment
Speaking Point: 3. In lieu of expensive flowers as centerpieces, use artisanal boules of bread with long sprigs of rosemary, bowls of citrus (which you can eat later), natural gourds, fall squashes and pumpkins, or pinecones, depending on the season.
Speaking Point: 2. Don’t forget the ice, and buy more than you think you need. Estimate 1 1/2 to 2 pounds per person. For faster chilling, combine the ice with cold water to create an ice bath. Allow a minimum of 30 minutes for chilling in an ice bath, and longer in the refrigerator. 1. Have fun! As they say, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Being invited to a party is a treat, a night away from the stove, something to look forward to and enjoy. No one expects perfection, they are just happy to be there and not be doing the work!