Edit: voting is now open, and you can click here to check out this entry to vote! Thank you, and good luck to my fellow contestants.
The third challenge of Project Food Blog was one that I’ve had my eye on for awhile.
A simple sprig of rosemary. This challenge asked us to host a dinner party where our guests would discover new tastes and exotic flavors. Also, watch out for hosting tips throughout the post.
So here’s what I’ve had in store for the third challenge!
What to do a week or a few days before your dinner party…
Come up with a guest list and invite them! On the invitation I let my guests know that this affair was one that called for “dressing up” with room for their own interpretation. I couldn’t wait to see what they would come up with.
Keep your guests and their allergies/dislikes/likes in mind when coming up with a menu.
Little things like that can bring a simple smile to someone’s face.
Things to do the day prior…
While I was shopping for my groceries I kept in mind that I want my guests to feel as special as they are. Quality and authenticity are very important to me, and this doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank: check for sales, don’t just buy the first thing you see, and consider the things that you feel okay splurging on.
Depending on what you’re making, you can start prepping the day before. I recommend doing whatever will keep you at ease. The last thing you want is for your guests to feed off of any stress, so it’s better to do things at a nice pace rather than waiting till the last minute.
The day of…
First thought: FINALLY!
Most of your cooking should be done today to ensure a fresh meal, and to let the seductive smells take over; Perfect for greeting your guests! Also, keep love and celebration in your heart when cooking. I truly believe that people can take these things in while they’re polishing off their plates.
The bell rings and…
I wanted us to take a journey through Italy starting from the northern region and making our ways feasting through this incredible country. Italian cuisine is usually associated with pizza, pastas, red sauces, cheese, and wine. Over the years I’ve learned that there are so many more dishes that this country has to offer. Afterall, with such an ancient history and every family having a sacred recipe by their Nonna, there’s just got to be more!
Focaccia is enjoyed throughout Italy, but it’s interesting to see how the preparation differs in each region. One thing that is so great about this bread is that it really embodies this sense of community. It brings me back to times of getting a big loaf of bread at a bakery with friends, ripping off chunks and devouring it while walking and talking the hours away.
My mom may recognize this dress, since it was hers from when she was my age! I thought the Emilio Pucci print was very fitting for traveling through Italy, don’t you think?
People in this area are often called mangiafagiole, which means “beaneaters”. None of us had ever tried a pasta dish like this, and we all agreed that we would happily try more!
It’s nice to be reminded that simplicity can also be thoroughly enjoyed, which shows that you don’t need to make a highly elaborate dish to satisfy your guests. I think an empty dish can attest to that.
Then it was time to make the dessert. It’s nice to cook with your guests, and it doesn’t come off as unprepared at all. We’re human and sharing food is such a great way to establish a deeper connection. Who needs stiff air that doesn’t allow for any interaction if everything is already “set”?
I served the oranges in a marsala sauce along with the biscotti, and sweet white wine (which I highly recommend) for dipping. Everything complemented the other wonderfully. When my guests exclaimed that these were the best biscotti they’ve ever had, I couldn’t help but agree! Hey, when it’s good, it’s good.
What a great challenge, and I hope you all enjoyed it! I had been looking forward to this and keeping my fingers crossed, hoping I would make it to this round so I could have the most motivation to host a dinner party. Having a dinner party may sound like a stressful task to undertake. But if you see it as something fun where you get to share a wonderful experience with others… well, why not have a glorious feast in that honor?
Voting opens tomorrow at 6 AM Pacific Time October 4th through 6 PM Pacific Time October 7th. You can check out my profile here!