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i like to (dinner) party

NaBloWriMo day 18.

Believe it or not, even though today was our first day after the Eat on $30 challenge, we didn’t eat a bite until 2 pm because we were so busy prepping food and cleaning the house for our party tonight. We ate… leftovers from our week. Here’s what we had at the end of the challenge: a lot of brown sugar, a lot of white sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, a cup of milk, a cup of beef stew, two scallion pancakes, and a cup of fried rice. We had the rice and stew for lunch today.

My head hurts from all of the wine and the laughter tonight. So let’s get on with the menu and the pictures and let’s call it Good. Originally we had invited about 20 friends, but when several were already committed to other engagements, it whittled down to 6 guests plus the two of us. Instead of a giant finger food/appetizer party, I could accommodate a sit down dinner and really go all out.

spinach-feta phyllo triangles, mix of greek olives

bacon-wrapped dates, shrimp toasts

lentil soup, goat cheese stuffed squash

green salad with oranges, goat cheese, hazelnuts, and beets

sitting down to dinner

pan-seared scallop on roasted parsnip purée

lobster vol-au-vent (not pictured: crab mac & cheese)

tiramisu, raspberry bakewell tart, lychee panna cotta

winding down with dessert, but the conversation kept on going

We served Gewürztraminer with the appetizers that had an amazing flavor of lychee. Sauvignon blanc paired with our salad, soup, and the squash. Then everyone took a break and got up to walk around while Jeremy cleared dishes and helped me plate the next course – pan-seared scallops. That was served along with a Chablis – one of my favorites. Then with the crab mac and the lobster vols-au-vent, we had a bright and clean French Chardonnay. Jeremy took care of offering up tea or coffee with dessert(s) to round out the marathon meal. A lovely time was had by all. Once again, I’m pooped.

Let’s talk again tomorrow, yes? Sure thing.

35 nibbles at “i like to (dinner) party”

  1. emhuze says:

    What an amazing feast!

  2. Jackie at says:

    What a beautiful feast! Everything is so tempting. I also love the dark tablecloth against the white plates. I’ll copy your setting for my next dinner party. =o)

  3. Jess says:

    How on EARTH did you pull this off? Everything looks so beautiful. I could see myself planning a menu like this with the best of intentions and end up in the fetal position in a corner, covered in flour, an hour before guests are set to arrive. Impressive!

  4. amy says:

    That looks FABULOUS.

  5. Mrs Ergül says:

    Get a rest while I ogle at the food porn again!

  6. Anita says:

    I want this, I want all of this, am sitting in a cold apartment in Montpellier, France and I could dive right in…..merci beaucoup for all the great pics, such a tease!

  7. barbara says:

    Wonderful dinner Jen. Those scallops look brilliant.

  8. Miriam/The Winter Guest says:

    Come on, confess… you have six hands, right? ;-)

  9. Kristin says:

    What fun it must have been to make all of those delicious looking dishes and then eat them with friends!

  10. Amy Q. says:

    I AM DYING READING THIS. DYING. What a menu!!!!!! Hats off to you!

  11. April in CT says:

    Have mercy that looks fantastic!

  12. Bridget says:

    Whoa! That must have been fun to put together. I’m not sure I could pull it off and still be a good host. I certainly couldn’t while photographing all the dishes. I love the idea of small servings of everything, especially the really rich things, like the mac and cheese and lobster dish. The scallop looks just perfectly cooked.

  13. Rosa says:

    When the foods as good as this, I also do ;-P! Lovely!



  14. Valérie says:

    You’ve succeeded in making me crave appetizers before 10 a.m… This is going to be a loooong day. :-)

  15. The Italian Dish says:

    An impressive feast. You got me with the scallop and parsnip puree!

  16. bethany (dirty kitchen secrets) says:

    What a spread! I’d be pooped for months!

  17. Phoo-D says:

    What a blow-out feast! Everything looks beautifully planned out and executed. You have some very lucky friends!

  18. Tawnia says:


  19. Carolyn Parker says:

    All of the above–awsome–but what is the white concoction w fruit in the glasses?

  20. Tony says:

    I dunno if I would’ve been able to pass this up for a prior engagement :D the whole spread looks awesome–have you tried bacon wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo? I had this once at a restaurant in DC during restaurant week; I’ve been making it since.

  21. Manisha says:

    Tony, I did. Which is why I am in this state: *hits head against desk repeatedly*

  22. Stephanie in Idaho! says:

    LOVE the menu, LOVE the ambition (coz you got it, girl!), and LOVE the photos of the food.. But I ESPECIALLY LOVE the photo of Jeremy at the head of the table with a total cheese grin on his face. Was he happy? I would bet so! How could he not be?! I love your site, and have checked in every day since you started NaBloWriMo… You are an amazing storyteller and I hang on every word.

  23. Collette says:

    I love that photo of Jeremy. He looks so stinking happy. That’s always a good thing.

  24. Caroline says:

    Jesus H Christ! That meal is amazing, nice job :)

  25. Paula says:

    Wow what a spread! It looks and sounds divine! Lucky guests!!

  26. Jenny says:

    Remember when that scary Paris Hilton had a show – something about being her Best Friend…??? I think you should do something similar – but I’ll settle for friend….or even occasional stranger who is invited to dinner…”occasional stranger” that isn’t right – but I like the sound of it – could be a great name for a band…okay I’m not making any sense – because I am in a dazed state after all that beautiful food!

  27. Dani says:

    {speechless} !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Paula - bell'alimento says:

    Okay now that’s one FAB dinner party! Outstanding Menu. Outstanding Fotos (as always ;)

  29. France says:

    wow what nice dishes you served. You made all this? The photos are very beautiful.

  30. Donna says:

    You are unfreakingbelievable!

  31. Tartelette says:

    Wrong idea I got to start reading this now. Damn you know how to make me hungry!! Great party Jen!

  32. Deborah Jenkins says:

    As much as I would love all the recipes for your feast, I would really love a blog on your planning and execution. Your party would make most, to quote Jess, go into the fetal position, preferably in bed, for days.

    You must have “the gift”.

  33. jenyu says:

    Jess – I’m OCD and my husband is AMAZING (he washes dishes, does food prep, cleans the house… he’s the best)

    Bridget – a lot of work, what I call fun #2. It’s fun when it’s all said and done :) The photos are all snappies – gotta be quick.

    Carolyn – it’s the lychee panna cotta. I plopped two lychee and two raspberries in each glass.

    Tony – that sounds so good. But the dates/bacon were incredibly rich and intense as it were – I can’t imagine adding MORE to it :)

    Manisha – :( I was so very sad you couldn’t make it. xxoo

    Stephanie – you’re very sweet, dear. Thank you. Jeremy… Jeremy is a good guy. He is a mellower person than I am and I know it stresses him out when I get these CRAZY dinner party marathon ideas in my head. He wouldn’t do it if left to his own devices, but he’s right there alongside me, working like a dog to help me out and in the end, he still has that smile I love so much on his face. He’s a gem.

    Jenny – ha ha! Oh god, please don’t include a reference to me and Paris Hilton in the same sentence! ha ha ha!!

    France – I did, and I’m still wondering how that all happened… Whew!

    Tartelette – hon, I wish YOU coulda joined us.

    Deborah – ah ha ha ha! No, it’s just a lot of planning and prep (with Jeremy’s help) and having very mellow friends who don’t mind wandering around on the deck between courses while I plate the food :) Come to think of it, I was kicking the dog out of the kitchen CONSTANTLY :)

  34. Hailey says:

    What a treat that party must have been for you! Like you mentioned, not only the eating, but the preparation, too. I can only imagine that the food tasted richer and the wine sweeter after a week like last. Perspective certainly makes those scallops worth the wait :-)

  35. Charli says:

    That all looks amazing! I went to a party last week with bacon-wrapped figs which (I hear) were amazing. They were devoured before I could arrive!!! Yours all looks fantastic though.

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