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Reporting back on dinner party!

A heartfelt thanks to the chowhound community for all the help. Many of you posted great advice on my many threads.

I've done many 8-10 person dinner parties for friends. But this was the first time my new husband and I invited our close family members (20 of them!) over for a meal. After spending so many Sundays at their homes for lunch ever since I was a little girl, it meant a lot to finally welcome them into our home.

I'm very pleased to say it was a great success...warm feelings all around, and all big appetites were satisfied!

I used the fine china, shaped the napkins into bishop's hats, and arranged low centerpieces with white lilies and very pale pink roses.

Hors d'oeuvres were: sundried tomato dip, shrimp salad on round melba toast, and prosciutto, pesto, and gruyere pinwheels. They all turned out great, but I made wayyyy too much.

The osso buco was tender and oh-so-flavorful. My cousin called the bone marrow "sex on a stick." I agree! I used Marcella Hazan's recipe, and although I read that she didn't find the gremolata necessary, we all loved the bright flavor it added to the richness of the meat.

The mushroom risotto wasn't gummy, and the porcini liquid I used gave a great depth of flavor.

The rosemary focaccia bread was a hit! Next time I will sprinkle sea salt over the top.

The spinach-ricotta lasagna was good. I do believe the flavor suffered just a little bit from being frozen for a week. I think the ricotta became a little...watered down.

The beet rounds topped with goat cheese mousse, orange slices, and caramelized walnuts were so pretty. Next time I would make a feta mousse instead though.

I also made a standard mixed greens salad with vinaigrette, and had a cheese plate (all Italian cheeses) with dates and figs.

For dessert, I made a chocolate flourless cake with almond flavor and Bastianich's limoncello tiramisu. Both were eaten very very quickly! One of my aunts made cannolis and my sis-in-law made an orange pie. They were both excellent. Oh yeah, and we had a fruit salad...I probably should have eaten some of that, but there was no room on the plate. ;-)

I called in sick to work today, and I'm enjoying leftovers in my pyjamas! Wish I could share them with you guys!

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  1. Sounds great...wish were there! Congrats on a successful dinner!

    1. You did good:) Cooking and feeding people is so therapeutic inspiring fun and satisfying.Pretty big accomplishment there!

          1. re: Tehama

            Too late you guys, we've scarfed it all down! My stomach hurts. :-/

              1. That sounds like a fantastic meal, and I'm sure everyone appreciated the time, effort and work that went into making such a feast.

                1. congratulations on a great event!

                  1. Sounds great. I'll bet it's a meal your friends/family will remember. Thanks for reporting back!

                    1. Oh it all sounds so wonderful!

                      Congratulations on your success.

                      "One of my aunts made cannolis" sigh.

                      1. It sounds as if you had a great party, Evie. Congratulations.

                        1. Wow that is a lot of work. Sounds like some TLC went into that meal for sure. Congratulations!

                          1. mmmm.. Can you tell how you assembled the prosciutto, pesto, and gruyere pinwheels? Was there puff pastry involved?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Sure! It's very quick. I just layered pesto, prosciutto and sprinkled gruyere cheese over a rectangle of puff pastry, then rolled it up and cut into slices. I froze it a week beforehand, and just popped them into the oven 10 minutes before i was expecting everyone.
                              They didn't taste very good cooled down, so it should be baked as soon as possible before serving.

                              1. re: eviemichael

                                food52 had a recipe for something similar. I made it recently with a spinach mixture. And made a similar thing with a muchroom mixture. The pinwheels look dramatic and they do taste good. I made more than I needed so I froze what I did not bake initially and then sliced and baked my semifrozen rounds and that worked well too.

                            2. Thanks everyone! Yes, it was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed the process.

                              1. very inspirational - I moved from Idaho to San Francisco 20 years ago and have become a pretty good cook - I've not completely thrown down for my family (the way you did) But I am totally inspired to tempt such a meal..... I will keep you all posted. Thanks for sharing the thought process and the results.....

                                sounds like an awesome meal. Fun for you and a great memory for all.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sparky403

                                  Sorry for the late reply, thanks for your nice comment.
                                  It's fun to go all out...exhausting, but fun!

                                2. Sounds like an over the top, delicious meal! Congratulations! This is ALOT of work!