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.