Dinner party planning

I have to throw a dinner party on Thursday for 9. My husband is having a very distinguished visitor in for a lecture and we'd like to have them over for dinner along with some other guests and a NYT reporter! (not Food section though :0)

I know from past experience that I get stressed out if I have too much food prep to do around dinnertime, so I'm trying to come up with a menu that I can mostly prepare the day before.

Of course, all I have so far is something that is made at last minute: broiled (or grilled) salmon. I can be OK with this as long as everything else is ready to go (rice in the rice cooker also is OK).

The dinner does not need to be fancy. It's going to be as informal as I can get away with. In terms of courses, I can imagine some finger food before dinner, and then we sit down to dinner, and then have dessert afterwards.

I would love suggestions -- and if you have another main course you can suggest that is prepared ahead of time I would love to hear that as well. I remember one of the least stressful dinner parties I had involved the main course being prepared in my crock pot (stew of some sort). I don't really want to make a stew for this party though. It's not winter anymore and seems out of season.

The guests of honor are Japanese but have been living in the U.S. for a long time. I was thinking seafood seemed appropriate.

finger foods: uh help! I never really make appetizers!

As for sides -- maybe some sort of cold or room temp vegetable dish? Perhaps something marinated?

Rice or quinoa side? I'm also thinking about that kale-farro salad in Heidi Swanson's cookbook but I think you need to prepare the kale near serving time to keep it crisp?

Dessert? tarts? strawberries are probably pretty good right about now.



Bevi April 17, 2013
You were off to a good start, though! For the future, there are dozens of grain dishes that can be made well in advance that you can find on this site. I recommend runaway spoon's savory bites (crackers) for a starter - you can make them in advance, hold off a little on the full baking time, and then heat so they are warm and toasty at the last minute.
rapearson April 16, 2013
I know! I was getting all excited about it. I'll just have to throw one soon I guess!
aargersi April 16, 2013
Well now we want you to have a dinner so we can help! Next time!
aargersi April 16, 2013
Well now we want you to have a dinner so we can help! Next time!
rapearson April 16, 2013
well, nevermind that! We decided that we will go out instead -- owing partly to some other logistics, like not having a large enough table! Oh well! I would delete but doesn't seem to be possible.
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