Most weekdays, it’s just the usual crowd around here, but once in a while we gear up for company. See how we approached a business lunch at the house, and look at all our pics.
My friends Claudia, Anna and Richard wanted to have a meeting to discuss an event they’re planning where I will be one of the speakers. We agreed to have a lunch meeting and I suggested we have it here at my house. That way, we wouldn’t have to deal with a loud restaurant, loss of privacy from other diners seated nearby, and interruptions from waitstaff. Besides, I’m always ready to cook!
My first rule of entertaining is usually “Don’t experiment on guests.” Stick to tried and true recipes, rather than inventing something and making your guests guinea pigs. Run the laboratory on your own time. I almost stuck to that rule.
A new market had just opened and there were some great-sounding kabobs with chicken, pineapple, coconut and crushed macadamia nuts. Sounded like a killer combination to me. I think I was imagining a meaty piña colada. Disappointed! Not only were they not very flavorful, the chicken was coated with something that reminded me and Steve of corn starch. It was a thick paste that had no real flavor — or certainly not a good flavor. You see, rules exist for a good reason. Don’t experiment on guests. Thank goodness we hedged our bets and didn’t rely on the untried chicken dish to be our only entree.
To save time, I set the table the night before. To make it easy to get the glasses of ice on the table, along with the ice water, I put the glasses on a tray and filled them all in the other room. I only needed one trip with the tray that way, rather than multiple trips with individual glasses.
To keep the vinaigrette on the tomato avocado salad from running amok on the plates, I corralled it in little individual ramekins. Since my only deviled egg plates are Easter-themed, I used a long serving tray instead.
I carved off the peel of a big tomato with a paring knife to make the big tomato rose. We then madecarrot and daikon radish flowers with the vegetable curler. I learned something cool. If your vegetable that you are curling is really big and produces a wide peel, you can slice your finished flower into two parts and stuff the small part into the big part as the “center” of the flower. Look at the carrot flower on the pork loin picture to see what I mean.
I trekked out to the herb garden to get rosemary to garnish the pork, parsley to top the deviled eggs, chives to go with the spaghetti squash, a little oregano for the chicken chunks, basil for the tomatoes and to add a little color on other platters. Small peppers from the garden added another pop of color.
I piled the spaghetti squash back into one of the scooped out squash havles, using it as a bowl. That worked quite nicely.
Our menu consisted of tomato avocado salad with basil strips and Essential Vinaigrette; Confetti Cabbage Slaw; Becky’s Deviled Eggs, Spaghetti Squash with Garlic; those horrid chicken kabobs; and two different pork loins (we wanted tenderloins, but there were none to be had at the grocery store!) — one slathered in minced garlic before cooking and topped afterwards with sugar-free peach jam mixed with worcestershire sauce and another topped with our Jalapeno Jelly after baking.
Great food, great company, and we accomplished a great deal. Success!