Cook This: A Dinner Party Plan

June 22, 2011

This weekend, have one last spring fling before summer produce shows up. Plan out this warm weather meal now and all you'll have to worry about is where to market and whom to invite.

The Menu:

Meg's Marinated Mushrooms by hardlikearmour

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Meg's Marinated Mushrooms

Layer these on top of some crusty bread for a perfect party starter.


Cream of Asparagus Soup with Yogurt and Tarragon by merrill

Cream of Asparagus Soup

We had to make use of last-of-the-season asparagus. 


Wishbone Roast Chicken with Herb Butter by monkeymom

Wishbone Roast Chicken

How can you go wrong with roast chicken and herb butter?


Sauteed Radishes with Mint by liahuber

Sauteed Radishes with Mint

A simple side that looks as good as it tastes. 


Coeur a la Creme with Strawberries by merrill

Coeur a la Creme with Strawberries

Strawberries. Cream. Enough said. 


The Plan:

Things you can do the day before:

• Make the coeur a la creme, get it into a mold and refrigerate 24-36 hours in advance. 

• Do up those mushrooms and let them sit in the fridge overnight to let the flavors develop. 

• Prepare the herb butter and save it in the fridge. On to the chicken: tuck shallots and softened butter under the skin. Season and let it rest in the fridge, uncovered, overnight -- this will help the skin roast up impossibly crisp. 

• Make that soup too, since you're on a roll!


Things to do the day of:

• To the market!

• Prop the chicken up, as dignified as you can, on the tube pan insert and get him in the oven.

• Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar and let them macerate while you finish cooking and enjoy dinner with your guests.

• Slice up and toast some bread to serve with the mushrooms as your guests arrive.

• Brown some butter with olive oil, toss in radishes and cook until they are tender and caramelized. Let them cool and sprinkle with mint just before serving.

• Cheers! Serve up. And certainly not without a glass of Pinot Noir or Beaujolais Nouveau that would do with a slight chill (Not so fast! Save those rosés and crispy whites for coming menus.)

With a little labor knocked out in advance, you will, no doubt, enjoy your own dinner. It shouldn't be hard to be festive -- you just need a plan!


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