Four Low-Stress Entertaining Options
I love to cook for people. And I do it often. But I’ll be honest with you; most often, it’s for one or two girlfriends, or I make something and drop it off at a friend’s place.
I don’t do the kind of entertaining I used to nearly as much, and that makes me sad.
Part of it has to do with being a single. It’s much more fun to entertain when you have someone to help with the cooking and cleaning (and that could just as easily be a like-minded friend, so that’s a lousy excuse). Part of it has to do with space. In the past, I’ve lived in some pretty small spaces, so packing in a dozen or so friends, or hosting a sit-down dinner party wasn’t particularly feasible. But I have a pretty good space right now. I still couldn’t host a sit-down dinner for 8, but I have been known to throw parties on roof.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit a new development in Surrey. Built by Bosa Properties, who are one of the Lower Mainland’s leading property developers, the development is called BosaSPACE. What I loved about the space was that, while it was not huge, it was like the Transformers of condos.
The one-bedroom, at just over 600 square feet (plus a balcony), transforms from an open concept living-kitchen-dining room with a separate bedroom to party-central. The bedroom wall is a pocket door that folds away, and the bed transforms into a couch. There is a day bed behind the television wall that becomes a couch. And the kitchen island transforms into a table for 8. It was really quite cool.
BosaSPACE is two blocks from the skytrain, so you don’t have to worry about your friends grousing about getting there, and it’s incredibly affordably priced, starting at $199,900, which includes almost all the furniture.
Since visiting there the other day, I’m feeling really inspired to start entertaining more.
So, if you, like me, want to spend more time entertaining at home, but are intimidated by the idea of doing something as formal (and as much work) as a sit-down dinner, I thought I’d offer you up some ideas.
As the host or hostess, you don’t want to be trapped in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove all night. You want to hang out with your guests. So here are four ideas for easy, enjoyable entertaining.
Inexpensive Wine Tasting: hold the party at the cocktail hour, or after dinner, and tell everyone to bring a bottle of wine priced at under $15. Then cover the labels and number the bottles. Supply paper and pens so that people can make notes about which wines they like best, and at the end of the night, decide which bottle wins. You supply snacks: when we’re talking wine, you can purchase simple things, like baguette, crackers, an assortment of cheeses, charcuterie, patés, and olives. You don’t even really need a table, you could just serve them on the coffee table. Everyone can mill around, and if you don’t have enough chairs, supply pillows for people to sit on the floor.
Brunch: One of my favourite ways to entertain is by doing a weekend brunch. There’s less pressure on the weekend than during the week, and you have more time to prep and clean up. Brunch dishes can be made in advance, like this Baked Golden Shrimp Casserole. Or, you can do waffles or crepes, and offer a variety of fruit, along with maple syrup and whipped cream. Add tea, coffee, juice, maybe some bacon, and, if you’re feeling really festive, mimosas, and we’re talking good times.
Fondue! There’s something about a fondue… it reminds me of the old days, gathering around the campfire. Fondue is a legitimate excuse to play with your food, and there is no way to do fondue fast. It’s slow and it’s tons of fun. Scour second-hand stores for fondue pots–my guess is you’ll be able to find one for a few dollars. Have at least two pots (you may need more depending on how many people you have), one for savoury (cheese) and one for sweet (chocolate). You supply bread, breadsticks, vegetables, anything that can be dipped in warm, gooey cheese. For dessert, you can serve fruit, cake, marshmallows, or, again, anything that tastes good dipped in chocolate. This is a great idea for the holiday season. I’d do a crock pot of mulled wine with this.
Do-it-yourself _________________ bar: You supply base ingredients and add-ons, and people make their own. This can work with ice cream (sundae bar), s’mores, cupcakes, pasta… the list goes on and on…
I’m going to be testing out the inexpensive wine tasting idea myself in the next couple of weeks… there will probably be blog post. 🙂
What’s your favourite way to entertain?