My First Private Dinner Party.

Today is our last day in DC, and Casey has to work all day.  So while he is working, I’m heading out to explore!  But while I’m out, I figure I can entertain you guys with the belated post about my private dinner party way back on Friday night.  Better late than never, right?

A few weeks ago, my boss decided that it would be a fun idea to have me plan a menu and prepare a 4-course gourmet dinner for her out of town dinner guests.  No pressure – eeeeek!  I had to make this dinner the same day as my staff lunch, so it was a long and crazy day.  Too busy for prep photos, but of course I got lots of pictures of the final product for you…

At the last minute, a crab appetizer they had planned to pick up fell through, so she asked me to throw something together.  I checked the pantry for ingredients and decided to make the raw sunflower seed and carrot spread that I made just last week, because I know for sure that it would be good. 

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I served it on cute pool house fish dishes, with a spread of sliced cucumbers from the garden, and an assortment of gluten-free crackers. 

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I love having vegetable dipping options, so that you can do a LOT of dipping with minimal guilt.  :)

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The group really liked this, and ate about half the bowl.  :)

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Next was the soup course – I made this super easy and delicious Creamy Basil Zucchini Soup.  Garnished with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of chili powder…

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The dinner group loved it, and I think they were really impressed by the presentation.  It has to LOOK as good as it tastes!

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This was my first time planning, preparing, AND plating food all by myself.  It was only for four people, but it was still a lot of pressure.  I think I did really well, and I ended up having a lot of fun with it, despite having to work such a long and busy day.

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Next up was the main course – a balanced plate of three different components…

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Peach and tomato salad with red onion and a balsamic dressing…

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Broiled Snapper with Basil Mint Sauce – this sauce was really similar to a minty pesto – reaaaaaally good.  To me, cooking fish = stressful, but I think it turned out okay. 

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Last but not least, Potato Salad with Herbs and Grilled Summer Squash – another good one!  The herbs and squash really lightened up this recipe.

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Final plate!

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And last but certainly not least, the delicious fruit tart I made on Thursday!

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I plated it with some of the extra leftover chocolate sauce from our Farm to Table Dinner a few weeks ago. 

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It held up really well in the refrigerator, and the dinner group LOVED all the fresh berries!

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I very rarely get dessert after dinner, but when I do, I always think it’s nice to have a lighter option like this.

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Pretty plates.  :)

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For those of you who were concerned that I was not going to get to try my dessert creations, no worries – I cut myself an extra piece.  :)

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YUUUUUM!  That toasted nut crust was amazing.  I would definitely make this again!  Working an insane 15 hour day the night before a long road trip was totally worth it for those few delicious berry bites.  :)

I conquered my first solo dinner party, and felt really good about how it all turned out.  Maybe there is a career for me in personal chef-ing or catering after all.  Only time will tell…

For now, I’m going to go find Casey at his Starbucks, and make the very loooooong 7-hour drive back to Charlotte into the late late night hours.  Keep me company on Twitter please!  :)

See you back in NC!