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Dinner Party with a Hidden Agenda

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Hey! I want to throw a casual dinner party this weekend to invite my new "interest" to, but I think I will invite about 6 or 8 others because of the nervousness factor of the "newness". The problem is not being a shy cook, but one with a small space... what treats can I prepare that show off culinary skill but might be able to be eaten either "with a plate on the lap" or "hearty cocktail style" I was thinking something with an ethic flare, but I am not married to that... Any help and suggestions are most appreciated.

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  1. If it doesn't sound trite at this point - what about tapas? If that sounds good to you, I'll dig up some of the recipes I've posted - albondigas (lamb meatballs), gambas al ajillo, tortilla, chorizo in sherry, gazpacho (you can serve in little cups for sipping - not chunky) and more, I think ....

    1. That sounds like my first dinner with my now husband...Small space...eight or so friends...and some first kissing in the backyard for dessert! I made a spring lamb stew that was served over noodles and easily enjoyed on laps...a curry would be really simple, delicious, and you set out a few add-ins to up the fun (and yum) factor...Add a gingery champagne cocktail and you'r e set!

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      1. Perhaps a casual menu of do ahead items that you can plate with flair:

        A sophisticated salad of bitter/sharp greens with a fruity vinagrette.
        Individual mac and cheese with assorted toppings on a pretty tray
        A seductive dark chocolate pot de creme with tawny port for dessert (make a big batch in a pan and spoon into coffee mugs) serve port in tiny cordial or shot glasses.

        Special, but not too labor intensive.

        1. Y'all are so great! Thank you so much!

          1. I really like the idea of standard, comfort food-type items, just in particularly delicious and classy renditions. Dunno if this speaks to you, but a perfect caesar salad, Thousand Layer Lasagna, and Not Yo Mama's Banana pudding sounds amazing to me. I've always wanted to try making that pudding recipe with mini chessmen cookies in individual ramekins sometime.

            Lasagna:
            http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...

            Banana Pudding:
            http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...