Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 29, 2010 07:34 AM

Recent widower needing to find new ways of entertaining.

Hello to all.
My wife and I used to entertain regularly and I did most of the cooking and my wife was sort of like the sous chef slash hostess and was excellent at it. All I really had to concentrate on was the cooking. Anyway, I have recently begun to entertain again, having several people over at a time, including entire families.

I am finding great difficulty cooking in the same style that I once had done, meaning, mostly sauteing, making sauces and plating things up in the kitchen, etc.

What I would like to develop is a style of cooking that will enable me to to prep and prepare menus and dishes at least a few hours ahead of time that will enable to spend a bit less of a frantic time cooking. timing and serving. I'd like to make a few cocktails for the adults and entertain the children as well.

Yes- I know that I can do a Lasagna, Eggplant or Chicken Parmesan, etc but I'd like to avoid that for now.
I'd like to, if possible, still maintain my (ha ha) "Gourmet" or "Foodie" status and learn a few first-rate and wonderful dishes.

Any and all advice would be so welcome.

-sorry for dragging out my very first post.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The original comment has been removed
    1. Lots of easy, but elegant, dishes out there. Think stew - but Frenchify it and call it a daube or casserole. You can have done all the prep early on, leaving the dish to do its own thing while you get on welcoming the guests.

      1. Hi there - I have found good ideas, recipes, presentation ideas on Rachel Ray's show. Also perhaps there is a local community college offering some cooking classes or seminars. Good luck

        1. One thought: continue to make the things you've been making, but plate for people at the table. Your plating becomes part of the meal. If you don't have them, think about cooking pots and things that come to the table well and look nice there.

          Another quick thought: souffles. Dramatic and way easier than people think. Most of it can be done well in advance, and then you only have to whip the egg whites and fold it into your base and bake. Would definitely allow you to keep your foodie "cred"! Would probably work best for smaller groups. And you can do "twice baked souffles" which allow you to do even more ahead of time. Those may require individual ramekins if you don't have them. (But have a million other uses too.)

          Will think more.

          1. Don't know if this is gourmet enough, but when I'm having lots of people over, I go with something like seafood gumbo, pulled pork or maybe in the fall a full sauerbraten meal. I love to cook but not when there are people around, it breaks my concentration. These meals can be made in the morning and then all you have to do is heat and serve at the appropriate time. They all actually taste better when they sit a bit. Some corn bread, or pumpernickel, maybe some side salads like home made cole slaw or cucumber on the table. Then, at the appropriate time, get one or two volunteers to help transfer your finished plates into the dining area.

            1 Reply
            1. re: coll

              Welcome to CHOW Rumm! May I ask what type of foods you enjoy cooking or have done in the past?

              Are you in to fish? There are a number of fish recipes that are really quite simple to put together but pleasing and rather elegant.