Now that Food52's Editorial Assistant Brette Warshaw has stocked her First Kitchen, she's ready to throw parties in it: no-stress weeknight parties for anyone, anytime, and (almost) every kitchen. You're invited.
So for my last dinner party of college -- I graduate today! -- I cooked steak and potatoes. Because after four years of chickpeas and eggs, of too many one-pot, twenty-minute, thrown-together meals, steak and potatoes were the comfort we all needed: the kinds of comfort that dance between the simple and the lavish, the comfort that will stick to our ribs as we don our caps and gowns.
Here's a dinner party to smooth the edges, to sustain, to comfort -- and for when you have something to celebrate. Cheers!
The night before: Make the spice mix for your steak, and rub it all over. Set it in the fridge. Bake your chocolate loaf cake -- it'll be even better the next day.
As soon as you get home from work: Time to prep. Clean and slice your leeks. Rinse your asparagus. Mandolin your potatoes, and set them in a bowl of water. Take your steak out of the fridge, and let it come to room temperature.
An hour before your guests arrive: Make the crispy panko topping for the leeks. Whip together your srirachannaise. Whisk the dressing for your asparagus salad.
When people start coming over: Hand them champagne cocktails, and enlist a friend to shave asparagus. Get your leeks braising on the stovetop and your potatoes in the oven. Sear your steak; it'll need time to rest. (Note: I didn't make the pan sauce, but if pan sauces don't make you nervous and you're good at multi-tasking, then go ahead.)
Dinner time: Toss together your salad, and mound it onto plates. Serve.
As people finish the first course: Take your leeks off the stove and your potatoes out of the oven. Sprinkle the leeks with the panko mixture, slice your steak, and watch your friends' eyes light up.
When the plates are cleared, and the champagne makes everyones' eyes twinkly, finish off the night with chocolate cake. You deserve it.