In that instance when you find a guest coming to dinner that was unexpected… What do you do? It depends on the time frame. Any notice within a three hour period and it is door dash or one of the other quick fix solutions which takes the presure off. But what if you live in a rural area where there is not such animal? Panick time? No… here’s the formula.
Of course lets face it, every guest has a different set of strategic cooking formulas. Kids are spagheti, burgers, or hot dogs. Unless they are this generation and it becomes more complicated. Now there are gluten allergies and a host of other allergies associated with food. Now there is the all too familiar, “I don’t eat that”, “I can’t eat that”, and the standard go to ” I don’t like that.”
When I was growing up you ate what was on your plate and if you keeled over you were excused from the table. If you began to froth at the mouth and couldn’t breath you called Aunt Marianne. Simple… not so much now. I digress.
If you are entertaining friends you probably already know what they like. If you have the ingredients for executing their preferences you are ready to start preparing. However if you don’t have certain items needed for the meal you just made up you can always ask them to pick up certain items you may need to pull this dinner off to the best of your ability. This brings me to my first important point which has only taken me approximately four paragraphs to get to.
First and formost you must have the PAZAZ™ kitchen tools to perform at the highest culinary level. The heavy duty sheet pan, cooling rack, and silicone baking mat make the probability of success increase exponentially. I have researched the temperature capability and quality to exclaim, “There is no other product on the market today that can come close to the PAZAZ™ kitchen tools… for the discerning chef.” These tools help create the “Magic” that is necessary to attain culinary perfection.
Keep in your refrigerator the following items: 1. Organic salad mix. 2. Some type of protein you can pull from the freezer that will thaw in a microwave without affecting its composition. Usually, chicken, steak, or lamb will suffice. 3. Keep dried cranberries, pistachios or cashews, and mandarin oranges to add flavor to your salad. 4. Keep an exotic vinegar or two with exotic oils to make your own salad dressing (simple and impressive). 5. Jasmine or Basmati rice which you can form by buttering a glass placing the rice within the receptacle and plopping out a perfect form. 6. Usually we have some type of vegatables which can be prepared in a myriad of ways. 7. The most important item… wine, liquor, or beer.
If the guest is someone you want to impress and the bombshell of them coming to dinner just exploded in your perverbial lap. Then, you will have to use the classic “look over here, not over there” trick. That is you need to dress up the table with cloth napkins, napkin rings, candles, placemats, show plates, and if you have them handy (look to the garden) flowers arranged in the center of the table. This will impress them before the dinner and if you serve enough of wine or other alcoholic beverage then none of the above really matters.
However, in the event your pride dictates you perform at the highest culinary level, then you must adapt simple sauces, techniques, and go to recipes, you’ve executed over the years. Here are a couple examples: 1. Whole grain mustard mixed with heavy cream gives a wonderful flavor to lamb and steak. 2. 2. Manchego cheese grated into heavy cream for a wonderful spin on an alfredo sauce. 3. Red wine reduced and then using the dripping from the steak or lamb whisk into a pan with sauted garlic. 4. Carmalize onions using Madeira wine or Port wine to place over the protein thus adding another layer of flavor.
Beautiful table setting with excellent wine highlighting wonderful conversation with an effort that appears to be thoughtful and well intended will convert the guest (if any conversion is necessary) to exhalting the experience to the plateau of a memory they will never forget.
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