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Learn how to cook and host an amazing dinner party

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Over the past year or so of teaching myself how to cook, i've always had the most fun inviting some friends over and cooking something new. I always have a backup frozen pizza in case I screw up! I've recently added some structure to how I learn the fundamentals of cooking and think some other people might be interested.

Basically, I practice 1 cooking technique every week and host a dinner party each month to share what i've learned with my friends. It keeps me accountable and who doesn't have fun at dinner parties with friends? So here is my framework:

Monthly theme: Braising

- Week 1: Appetizer (eg. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...
)- Week 2: Veggie main dish (eg. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/br...
)- Week 3: Meat main dish (eg. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/re...
)- Week 4: Something fun for the party (eg. cocktails - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/ma... or dessert http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al... etc.

)

I tweak the format for brunch, style of cooking (international cuisine), sauces, or whatever I feel like. I've also been playing around with the idea of setting up a weekly email of what i'm practicing to help others learn how to cook and give people an excuse to throw more parties! If that's something you'd be interested in, let me know. Otherwise, if you have ideas on how I can improve my process, let me know!

Mangia, mangia!

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  1. I love this, thank you for sharing!

      1. I love this idea! Along the same lines, I've been toying with the idea of having some friends over to cook together. I love to make Japanese gyoza, but they're so labor-intensive. Having a group of people working on it together would be a lot of fun.

        1 Reply
        1. re: NJFsa

          I've done that and it is fun. A bunch of us started with xmas cookie and then decided it would be great for other batch foods.

          Eventually it ended up just being me and one friend. Every fall until late spring we meet one Sunday a month for a "feed the freezer" day. We make big batches of meatballs, soups, stews, sauce, lasagna, enchiladas, pot stickers, etc. We have a great day, lots of laughs and when we are done, our freezers are packed with great food!

        2. Good for you! It is always nice to see how other people get inspired to learn. I was invited to a dinner party and was asked to bring dessert. I brought the pine nut tart from the Last Course by Claudia Fleming. It had been a decade since I produced a good pie or tart crust and I had never worked with almond flour. Luckily a friend who was an expert baker talked me through it. I think I made two crusts a night until I nailed it. Keep up the good work your efforts will not only pay off for dinner parties, but you will be able to put something together that is special on a week night.