Adventures in Catering

Entertaining Made Easy: How To Be A Guest At Your Own Party

Posted by on Jul 22, 2014 in Adventures in Catering, Dinner, entertaining, recipes | 0 comments

Entertaining Made Easy: How To Be A Guest At Your Own Party

  Eating fantastic food with your nearest and dearest is one of life’s true treasures, if you ask me. Here’s how to make that experience as stress-free as possible. In my new book, The Zenbelly Cookbook, an epicurean’s guide to paleo cuisine, I share some of my favorite party menus, including one that can be almost entirely made ahead, so you can be a guest at your own party! Here are my top tips for easy entertaining, brought to you by my many years in the food business.   First things first: Have a plan.   Start with the basics. It’s important to be able to see the big picture of the event you’ll be having. Is it a backyard summer garden party? An elegant dinner party? A festive holiday affair with lots of food out on a buffet? Think about the tone and style you want your event to have, and let that inspire the type of food you serve. Plan your menu. (and what drinks you’ll be serving with it) Based on what you decide above, think about what kind of food you want to have. Consult your local seasonality guides to help you choose what produce you want to focus on. Starting with ingredients that are in season makes your job easier, because they taste better, and are often less expensive and available in large amounts. When I plan a menu for a party I’m catering, I first decide what fruits and vegetables I want to feature based on what’s in season, and then consult The Flavor Bible for inspiration. Seriously, I don’t ever plan a menu without consulting this book. It is my absolute favorite cooking resource. (And I don’t get paid to say that, I’m genuinely smitten) Schedule your prep. What if I told you that you could make just about everything ahead of time? Would that take away some of the stress of entertaining? Well put your party pants on, ’cause it’s true! When I cater an event, I do very little actual cooking the day of. And I promise I’m not the type of caterer that serves overcooked grey meat in chaffing dishes. I’m way too snobby for that type of thing, trust me.   What can be made ahead of time (and what can’t): stews, soups, and braises: Can be made 4-5 days ahead, kept covered and refrigerated until ready to be reheated. Fresh herbs, finishing sauces, etc can be added when ready to serve. * cakes, muffins, brownies, cupcakes, tarts, cookies, crackers, etc: Can be made 1-2 days before, wrapped tightly or stored in an airtight container. Frostings and decorations can be added the morning of your event. (If your tart of pie crust is one that gets soggy, it’s best to make or fill it the day of) cooked vegetables: Can be made 2-3 days ahead. Add fresh herbs, dressing, sauces, etc the day of. (But you can make the dressings and sauces a day or two ahead!) raw vegetables, salads, crudité, etc: Can be prepped the morning of, or sometimes the night before. Dress salads and sauce vegetables at the last minute. (But you can make the dressings and sauces a day or two ahead!) meats and fish (any types that shouldn’t be cooked beyond a certain point): Should be cooked shortly before serving and kept warm, at a heat that won’t cause them to continue to cook. Don’t necessarily discount using these types of proteins because of this. Remember- if you’ve made everything else ahead of time, it won’t be overwhelming. This is something I’d recommend for a smaller party....

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

Posted by on Jul 23, 2012 in Adventures in Catering, Galleries | 0 comments

With burrata, balsamic paint, unfiltered California Olive Oil, fresh basil, micro greens, and glutenfree garlic toast. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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Roasted Beet, goat cheese & fennel fronds on glutenfree crostini

Posted by on Jul 22, 2012 in Adventures in Catering, Galleries | 0 comments

Simple and beautiful, these colorful bites are a perfect addition to any hors d’oeuvres menu. All of the links on zenbellycatering.com are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly...

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Free eBook: Essentials

Enter your email address to get Chef Simone's Free eBook: Essentials; Zenbelly's guide to mastering the basics. 11 simple recipes to boost your kitchen confidence and help you cook like a pro