March 21, 2014

Weekly Obsessions 3.21.14

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Guys. I had thirty people over for dinner last night. Three. Zero. And guess what? I didn’t break a sweat, I didn’t stress out, I didn’t use salt. And everything went off without a hitch or a fire in the oven. Or a gigantic emergency order for pizza.

What was the secret?

Well here’s my philosophy when it comes to hosting big dinner  parties, low-sodium style: one, keep it simple; two, keep it colorful; and three, keep the music on.

Even when  feeding a lot of people (THREE ZERO), I still like to think of it as if I’m just feeding myself on busy weeknight. Meaning, I keep the recipes simple. Of course, sometimes it is nice to break out the beef bourguignon (which is really hard to spell). But sometimes it is nice to just broil a few peppers, fill them with rice and interesting spices, and call it dinner. Remember, food doesn’t have to be complicated to be guest-worthy. Most of the time simple food will be the most flavorful food.

Which brings us to point number two: break out the color! In your ingredients, fresh herbs, and place settings. Bright oranges, yellows, greens, purples — bring it on. Because we eat with our eyes as much as our mouths. And even if you’re serving up a pale quinoa pilaf with some roasted chicken, sparkling orange segments and emerald dill will wake up the dish and the tastebuds.

And finally, to keep you motivated as you man the stove, it’s always helpful to put on some music. Finding your kitchen anthem will give you the energy and confidence to attack that dinner menu with style and flare. It will channel your inner joy of cooking. And as an added plus, you might just find yourself shaking your booty instead of watching the pot boil. Meaning your whole cooking experience will be ten times more fun and as a result, your food will be ten times more delicious. This is a real fact.

So this weekend your homework is to find your go-to dinner party recipe, your go-to serving pieces, and your go-to anthem. That way you’ll be prepped and ready for your next gathering. No sweat, no tears, no kitchen fires, and always low-sodium.

Chow on.

THEME SONG: Pharrell, his hat, and his Happy anthem continue to rule the world during International Happiness Day. I could listen to this for 24 hours straight on repeat (oh wait, I did).

LEFTOVER STUFF: My favorite, simple dinner party trick? Stuffed peppers. The inspiration. The filling: meat and grains or any leftovers in the fridge. The topping: Greek yogurt and herbs.

NEW FOOD: I’m loving the Cooking Cure series over at theKitchn. See their assignments and try something different.

EAT BY COLOR: A palette for your palate. And each ingredient’s health benefits to boost.

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