Months ago, a dear friend of mine asked me to host a dinner party for his upcoming birthday. Seeing as how I love to entertain, I enthusiastically agreed! And then, I forgot.
Fast forward to last Thursday, I received a text confirming the final count for dinner. That’s right, dinner Saturday. Perfect. Considering I didn’t have a day off between Thursday and Saturday, I knew I was going to have to get creative and fast. With The Chopping Block recipes on my side, I quickly compiled what I thought would make for a quick and easy summer menu:
Watermelon, Feta and Arugula Salad
Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
Roasted Chicken with a Peach Barbeque Glaze
This might look intimidating at first, but the recipes quote how long each of them are going to take, which is extremely helpful when trying to pull something like this off. Total time needed to complete the menu = 1.5 hours. I was able to make it to the grocery store after work Friday, with the intention of cooking everything after work Saturday. Well, sometimes I get distracted at work and before I knew it, it was 5:30pm and my guests were arriving at 7pm. Que panic!
As I was rushing out, I jokingly asked one of the class assistants if they would come home with me to help me pull everything off. He laughed and said "Jennifer, why don’t you just do what The Chopping Block would do? Set everything up, and have your guests participate in creating the meal!" One word – Brilliant. I got home with just enough time to mis-en-place my countertop, preheat the oven and pour a nice, tall glass of wine.
My guests arrived, and were thrilled by the fact that I was going to ‘let’ them cook in my kitchen! For the next few hours, we laughed, cooked and created an amazing meal together. Not only did I dodge a bullet, I created an experience and the opportunity for my friends to learn something new. The food was delicious, and the birthday boy was thrilled with the way the evening turned out.
At the end of the day, there is no way to pull off a dinner party in one hour by yourself. So, gather your friends and family and get cooking together! And if you don’t want to do the dishes, you can always come join us here for a class.