]Hi buddyroos—and I hope you had a great Easter weekend!
We had a quiet Easter Sunday. Jake, Roman and Oona stayed in NYC. Work obligations and relatives visiting from my ex-husband’s family gave all three a hectic but fun weekend. I’ll admit—it’s weird not having the grown kids here for every holiday, but their dad does deserve his time with them. Plus—they get good Polish food—like babka, kielbasa and pierogis!
All was not lost, I made a basket full of treats for Bonaparte’s granddaughter—so I still got to fulfill motherly tasks!
Happy to still have an Easter basket in the house!
Although, I have to say, for the first time in my life I did not dye eggs for Easter. I’m still trying to figure out if I miss that process or not!
I don’t miss getting that dye all over my fingers and hands and clothing and….
Our dinner on Saturday night was a success. I’ve always enjoyed entertaining. And, as you are aware from my past week’s posts, I did a lot of the prep work in advance. I still had quite a bit to do on Saturday, but luckily I was able to do so at a relaxed pace and even had time to catch up on Season 2 of “Southern Charm”!
Just another group of idle bodies that I love to despise!
I even got to enjoy more delusions of having Whitney Sudler-Smith’s mom, Patricia (Queen Patricia) Altschul as my newest best friend forever. Now this is a woman who knows how to entertain and live the good life. She hires her butlers (yes. Butler with an “s” at the end!) on their ability to make the perfect martini. Why can’t she be my friend?????
She may live an idle and privileged life, but Queen Patricia is my new idol! I want that bed. I want her tea service. I especially want her plastic surgeon!
Anyway, I’m no expert like Queen Patricia, but I do know a thing or two about hostessing—a few tips:
- Prepare as much food as you can in advance—even if it is days in advance. I made my rillettes three days in advance. I also baked the brioche days in advance as well as the dessert and the sauces. It really is a good thing to check for recipes that can be made in advance because it’ll make entertaining day/evening much less stressful!
BTW, the Salmon Rillettes and the Chicken Rillettes were a huge hit..I served them on…..
The Brioche that I made. I sliced the brioche then toasted the slices then cut them into four squares! Perfect appetizers
2.I’m not one for “tablescapes” but I love me a decent looking table setting. Figure out in advance how you want the table to look. Do you want a super-formal look? Casual? Casual chic? Have the linens washed and ironed a day or so before as well. You will feel more empowered and organized!
My red table!
Bonaparte had issues with the way I set the table. He said it wasn’t the “French” way. I smiled and told him that this setting was the “Cathe” way!
Remember the “repurposed” flowers I put into the sunroom? Well, they were “re-repurposed” as a centerpiece.
3. Go through your inventory of serving platters and tableware. If you’re short a platter or gravy boat or any other items, check out local thrift and consignment shops. I guarantee you will find more than you bargained for at a fraction of what you would pay retail—even discount retail! If you don’t find what you’re looking for thrift-wise, there’s always Home Goods (I love that store!)
Silver platters I purchased at the “Red White and Blue Salvation Army” thrift shop years ago in Hamilton, NJ. I know–I need to polish them, but I do use these a lot–especially around the Christmas season!
One of my all-time favorite thrift buys. An entire set of this old-school porcelain. Plates, platters, soup bowls, finger bowls, tea cups and saucers and dessert plates. I spent under $25.00. I use it when I’m feeling very fancy and proper!
Look behind the martini glasses…more of the set!
These Christmas themed cups are also a thrift purchase. I use them for serving my Martha Stewart Eggnog at Christmas!Pick out easy finger foods as hors d’oeuvres with your aperitifs.
4. Bonaparte and I love our Kir Royales and guests can’t resist the refreshing champagne and crème de cassis mix—delightfully bubbly and sweet, it’s a good pairing for small tasty treats. Deviled eggs are always a crowd pleaser. You can hard boil the eggs and peel them days in advance. In addition, you can prepare the filling, spoon it into a pastry bag with tip, cover it up and “assemble” the eggs an hour or so before the guests arrive. I also like to serve salty black olives and prosciutto!
Somebody ate two of the deviled eggs that I prepared! Who could that be? OH–this deviled egg platter is a thrift shop find too!
Little picks like make picking up any finger food into something more elegant!
5. There is nothing wrong with plastic plates for serving hors d’oeuvres. During my visits to dollar stores and other stores selling inexpensive treasures, little fancy plates can be picked up for next to nothing—and you can store them away for future use!
See these little plates? Picked them up ages ago! Check out the cocktail napkins–they match my tablecloth!
Here’s a “last chance” buy from Ikea. It may be unused but at some point, I’ll need extras!
6. Bonaparte has this “thing” about the main plate being as “hot off the presses” as possible. So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll make sure the vegs are blanched in advance and brought down to room temperature as closely to the dinner as possible. I will only spend “time” in the kitchen cooking the meat while everyone is enjoying the appetizers at the table. That’s why I’ll cook various chicken dishes. Red meat isn’t a good choice simply because everyone seems to like theirs cooked at various levels of “doneness”. I’ll pound the breasts down to an even width so that the cooking will only take but a few minutes.
Asparagus bundles resting on an asparagus server (thrifted) make a cute presentation!
After blanching the Haricort Vert and the asparagus, I placed them in ice water to stop the cooking….then, for something extra I made an aoli….
Easy aoli recipe: 3 egg yolks, 2 cloves of garlic (or more), juice of one lemon, olive oil. First peel the garlic and salt it. Pound it to a paste with your mortar and pestle. whisk the egg yolks till creamy. Add the salted garlic. Whisk some more. Pour olive oil in a steady stream while whisking(about 1/2 cup or so). You want the aoli thick! Add a bit of lemon juice to thin out just a bit! The aoli is a great accompaniment for the vegetables!
7.Main course finished, I’ll wait a few before clearing the table off for dessert! The Nougatine I served on Saturday was perfect because I was able to take it out of the freezer, slice it and serve. I poured the chocolate sauce and the caramel sauce in small bowls so the guests would have their choice. I like to serve simple and not complex desserts. If anything needs to be sliced, I’ll do it myself in the kitchen. Makes for easier presentation.
Caramel sauce and chocolate sauce and Nougatine were prepared well in advance. I’m sorry that I used a stock photo of the nougatine, but the only photos I have show the nougatine all wrapped up!
8. Another thing we like to do—clean everything up after the guests leave. I know. Sometimes you just want to leave everything till the morning. Nuh unh. Better to get the clean up done immediately. If you are hung over the next morning, the last thing you want to do is clean a mess!
9. Remember—if you receive a gift from a guest, write that “Thank You” note the very next day! I received this beautiful platter from one of Bonaparte’s good friends. I love it so much and am looking very forward to using it as soon as possible! Isn’t it beautiful?
This platter is such a beautiful gift!
Thank you is already sent!
Well, those are my tips and I hope that you like them and maybe could use one or two! I’m hoping that Queen Patricia writes a hostess book. I would be first on line to make that purchase!
I want to be the kind of hostess Queen Patricia is!
Will I measure up?
The great Ethel Merman “The Hostess With The Mostest On The Ball” from “Call Me Madame”!