Don’t experiment. The “key to spur-of-the-moment entertaining” is serving a meal that’s “rustic but really well-made.” Pick an entree you’ve mastered: “No one wants to watch you sweat it out attempting a wildly complicated Julia Child recipe.”
Cut the prep work. “Hors d’oeuvres should be simple”: cheese, charcuterie, and some olives. The same goes for dessert. Any fruit in your kitchen can be the basis of a “quick crumble.” Or just serve ice cream sandwiches on plates.
Let the numbers decide. A salad and entree will do if it’ll be just you and a friend. Add a dessert if there’ll be three dining and an “easy side” for four.
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Dress the part. No matter how simple the food, use china and crystal if possible. Guests should feel they’re “eating a little better” than they usually do.
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