A few weeks ago, I volunteered to have some of our friends over for dinner on the same day that I planned to participate in a bottomless mimosa brunch with friends who were in town visiting. After making the plans, I realized that this was going to make things interesting. I’m not used to preparing a full dinner and dessert after a day of drinking. So when picking out my menu, it was all about finding something that could be done the day before and/or required very little last minute preparation. To find inspiration, I turned to one of my favorite blogs – Smitten Kitchen. I’d been eyeing a couple of her recipes and decided to use several of them for this dinner.
Here is what I pulled together:
1) Blood Orange Margaritas (recipe here)
2) Veggies and Hummus & Crackers and Cheese (all from Trader Joes)
3) Flank Steak and Bloody Mary Salad (recipe here)
4) Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust (recipe on this blog here)
Since we finally had some nice spring weather, I made sure to keep the table simple with some spring flowers:
My best tip when preparing ahead for a dinner party is: CUT EVERYTHING. It’s amazing how much time it takes just to chop that onion, or slice those tomatoes. Simply doing all of the cutting and measuring a day before can make things very easy the day of. For the salad, I did everything but mix the ingredients ahead of time. As for the margaritas, the juicing of the oranges and limes is the only time intensive part, so again do it ahead. For dessert, I went ahead and made the entire tart the day before and it was still delicious the next day. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature after storing it in the fridge overnight.
TWO notes on the steak and salad: My only changes to the recipe were to skip the celery seeds because I couldn’t find them and to use red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar.