Entertaining Like My Mom

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a little dinner party at my apartment on Friday to bring everyone together after Hurricane Sandy. Well, let me tell you, cooking for 12 people is no joke, but I absolutely LOVED it.

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(Two of the dishes that I made… Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts, and a Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Salad…recipes below)

My mom is a huge entertainer, and she is incredible at it. She has dinner parties and parties, in general, all the time. I’ve grown up watching her put on these parties countless times. She spends days preparing for them– from looking up recipes, to buying the groceries, to coming up with creative ideas for the table settings, to cleaning the house top to bottom, to figuring out the order for cooking each part of the meal, and finally doing all of the cooking.

As I was going through the motions on Friday, I literally felt like my mother. I noticed that I cared about the same things she cared about, I stressed about the same things I have watched her stress about, and of course I made WAY too much food like she always does. Figuring out what you need for 12 people ain’t easy!

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The night before I emailed my mom my “menu” idea and she wrote back promptly with her input. She approved, for the most part, but did give me some valuable advice that I took. During the day on Friday when I was doing all the cooking, my mom was my sounding board. I texted her a few times with the stupidest questions that only an amateur would ask, and of course, she had my back.

I know that I’ve gotten the entertaining trait from my mom and that I am going to be just like her in this way when I am older. The satisfaction I got out of cooking like this for my friends was amazing. I loved just being able to put everything out for them and telling them to dig in. I loved the fun of bringing everyone together. I loved the creativity of coming up with exactly what I wanted to cook and then slowly but surely tackling each dish.

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And Mom… since I know you will be reading this, I owe you an apology. I ALWAYS harp on you for cooking too much food, but I take it all back. I now understand how, as the host, your worst nightmare is not having enough food. And I totally overdid it this time. So from host to host, please accept my apology. And thank you for, without even realizing it, rubbing off on me and subtly teaching me how to “entertain”. I only hope to be as good as you some day.

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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts

(serves 12-15)

  • 3 lbs brussels sprouts
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 T butter

1. In a large skillet (or two skillets, which I had to use), add olive oil and chopped garlic. Sautee garlic for a few minutes until brown.

2. Add onion and sautee onion until soft.

3. Chop your brussels into thin strips. I take each sprout, cut off the bottom, and then slice vertically into three divided pieces. This makes them thin enough to cook thoroughly. Add brussels to skillet.

4. Add butter and mix in. Cook everything over low heat for about 20 minutes, or longer if you want. Just make sure that the brussels are really cooked through.

5. Roughly chop the hazelnuts. Toast them in toaster or under broiler in oven until they just start to brown. Make sure they don’t burn!

6. Add these to skillet and mix everything together. Cook for another 10 minutes or so.

Roasted Cauliflower Tahini Salad : I took this from Emily’s blog here. I doubled the recipe but kept it the same. The only addition I would make is to add a few golden raisins to it.

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6 thoughts on “Entertaining Like My Mom

  1. This is such an awesome post 🙂 I can TOTALLY relate to this as my mom hosts about 35 guests every year for Thanksgiving and now its my turn. Before, I made fun of her for writing list after list and having timing down to the minute. Now, I am doing the same thing. I think we are so lucky to have Mom’s that know how to entertain and do it well 🙂 Its SUCH an undertaking and to do it with grace is even better!

    • I totally agree. There is no way I would have even known where to begin had I not watched my mom do this so many times. We are lucky! And I’m sure you do an amazing job as well 🙂

  2. you are such a beautiful and thoughtful young woman. your mom is a gem, and don’t know who you could be more influenced by. wish i was closer and could get an invite to one of your impromptu soirees. such fun. your food always looks fabulous.

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