about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



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!

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28 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Dorry     at 3:51 pm

WOW! That meal looked so amazing. Every single part of it. So great that you pushed through a really challenging 15-hour day! Good for you. :)

[Reply]

Marie     at 4:16 pm

Love your blog! Everything looks amazing! I love to bake but I am not a very good host and often get so stressd out when we have company. I can’t imagine working the amount of hours you do and coming up with so many dishes!

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I get stressed out too. I’ve learned to just do as much prep ahead of time as possible, and do your best to stay ORGANIZED!

[Reply]

Bridget     at 4:22 pm

I wish I could have been a guest at this party! YUM yum yum yuuuum!

[Reply]

Lexi     at 4:34 pm

I was in the Northern VA area looking for a place to move this weekend. No luck :( We drove all the way from MS. We split it into 2 sever hour trips. I know how you feel. It was dreadful! Congrats on everything & best of luck in the future.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Oh man. No luck at all?? I’m hoping we find something when we go back in a few weeks!

[Reply]

Anne     at 4:44 pm

Oh wowwwwwww, everything looks delicious! The presentation was beautiful too. I can never get things to look that pretty, ha!

Safe travels tonight!

[Reply]

Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen)     at 4:45 pm

Dinner looks amazing! Great job! Be careful on the ride home!

[Reply]

Annie@stronghealthyfit     at 5:36 pm

SO impressive! That dinner looks amazing!

[Reply]

Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 5:38 pm

Beautiful presentation on the main course! I especially like the tomato peach salad, and we recently harvested both potatoes and summer squash. We’ll be eating our first garden tomato tonight :)

[Reply]

Meagan     at 6:39 pm

That looks really delicious Emily. Good job!

[Reply]

Lisa (bakebikeblog)     at 6:53 pm

Boy oh boy – how great does all that food look!!!!!

[Reply]

adrienmelaine     at 10:52 pm

Congrats! The eats looked delish- I think there’s definitely a career in it for you- I could only imagine it- something tells me rice crispy squares aren’t decadent enough for private cheffing..

[Reply]

Chelsey     at 11:38 pm

yay!!! good work! All of that food looks amazing – you can come cook for me any day of the week! How does the weekend of the Healthy Living Summit sound? I live about 30 minutes outside of the city. :) hahaha

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

haha :)

[Reply]

Anna @oatsnboats     at 12:24 am

Looks delish! What brand are the ritz looking crackers? I recognize the others as Mary’s but I’m alwas interested in new kinds.

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

I’m not sure. :( If I can find the box at work this week I will let you know!

[Reply]

Ashley     at 2:02 am

This is amazing. SO impressive. Everything looks great, especially the soup!

[Reply]

alexe @ soyaetchocolat     at 7:24 am

This dinner looks awesome! Do you want to be my personal chef? I always visit your blog for new recipes but it would be much more convenient if you were here to make them for me! ;)

There is one dessert that I would love to see on your blog because I’ve been meaning to try it myself but I’m a little bit intimidated : a vegan ‘cheesecake’. I want to do it without bying a vegan cream cheese because they are too expensive. Do you think it would work with a homemade tofu ‘cream cheese’?

[Reply]

Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

haha. :) I will work on a vegan cheesecake when my internship is over! But YES – I think you could do it with silken tofu.

[Reply]

Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries     at 8:36 am

Everything thing sounds SO GOOD. I love watching your journey as a new chef. I think it’s so fascinating and exciting!!

[Reply]

Emilyeatsclean     at 9:04 am

You go girl!! You totally rocked that dinner party!!! Everything looks delicious…..I think I’m gonna make that peach and tomato salad. Mmm! :)

[Reply]

Teri [a foodie stays fit]     at 9:28 am

nice job! the plating looks awesome! I love dishes that look as pretty as they taste.

Welcome back to NC! :)

[Reply]

Megan (Braise The Roof)     at 12:18 pm

Your food looks ridiculously good! Even for 4 people, that is a feat. You must have excellent mise en place! :)

[Reply]

Jackie (Peaces of Earth)     at 2:04 pm

Congrats on your first dinner party! It’s definitely not easy, but everything looks so amazing!

[Reply]

Stacey @ Tipping the (Kitchen!) Scales     at 3:53 pm

Gawd, your food always looks so beautiful! Love the idea of having veggie dipping options for minimal guilt – genius!

[Reply]

Balding basil plant «     at 9:09 pm

[...] reading The Front Burner this morning [one of my new favorite blogs!] I was wowed by the delicious looking-ness of a peach [...]

moxie79     at 9:21 am

I would love to learn more about canning–I want to make my own preserves with all this gorgeous fruit at my farmers markets!

[Reply]

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