Usually blogging is a priority with me, but this week has been a different story. I'm focusing on a few impending deadlines for work as well as a mad rush to get ready for my trip to Brussels next week (more on that later). I was able to take a few hours last night, though, to host a very small dinner party for a few dear friends who I met through my blog: Will Merrill (former design director at Hickory Chair who now designs a great furniture collection for Currey & Co.), Rory Carlton, and Barry Leach (who, by the way, writes a fantastic blog called The Blue Remembered Hills.)
Playing hostess on a weeknight is easy if you remember two things. First, don't wait until the last minute to clean and spruce up your home. And second- and this is key- have someone else prepare your dinner. In fact, Chris Spitzmiller and I were recently talking about what a shame it is that so few people entertain at home anymore. Chris is super busy making those gorgeous lamps that we all covet, but he doesn't let that stop him from hosting small dinners. He simply picks up the food from a neighborhood restaurant, although he often prepares his own dessert. (Granted, Chris could serve gruel to his guests and they probably wouldn't care; more than likely they would be paying more attention to his gorgeous apartment.)
So for my dinner last night, I had my friend Mattie at Cafe Lapin make the entree. Mattie will make all kinds of wonderful dishes and casseroles for you if you call ahead of time. I hear Mattie makes a mean seafood lasagna (ordered often by a few of Atlanta's top designers), but I opted for chicken and dumplings. All I had to do was bring in my Apilco white casserole on Monday, and Mattie had the dish ready for me late yesterday afternoon. How easy is that? I did toss a green salad, but obviously I didn't have to exert myself for that chore. Dessert was easy too- store bought Blackberry Cabernet sorbet with some of Mattie's delicious cookies.
Why am I going through my menu for last night? I guess because I realized that I often talk the talk about easy entertaining, but I decided that I should walk the walk. Having a weeknight dinner party is easy...if you have someone like Mattie to make the dinner for you.
If you live in Atlanta, you should definitely visit Cafe Lapin not just for lunch or dinner, but to talk to Mattie about catering. He's the one who made all of that great food for the Summer party I hosted for my sister. I'm ready to host another small dinner just to serve his seafood lasagna. Anyone care to join me?
Mattie can be reached at 404-812-9171 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I realize that chicken and dumplings is not the world's most beautiful dish, but this one tasted beyond fabulous. We were all spooning up the sauce from our plates.
The image at the very top was my four minute table setting. Nothing fancy here. My bar is always set, so I just had to throw some wine glasses on it and bottles of wine and sparkling water. That was a three minute chore. The only thing that does take a lot of time is laundering the dirty linens, something which I'll worry about tomorrow.