About mid week, I started to flip through Ina Garten's Foolproof cookbook in an effort to be prepared and not serve a horribly overcooked meal. She offers up some great pairings for dinner party menus which can mostly be prepared in advanced. It's not any fun for the cook to be slaving in the kitchen while everyone enjoys some wine and cheese starters. I want to be where the action is and have some fun, too!!! Ms. Garten suggests to select recipes that can be cooked at the same time - one in the oven, one or two on the stove top. I selected...
We hit up the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning to pick up some great cherry tomatoes and green beans. About 80% of all the food was prepped on Saturday afternoon.
It's also a great time saver to set the table a day early. I was all giddy to dust off some fancy stuff from the china cabinet but also used some rustic chargers to create a more casual table scape. Tip: that linen runner was a recent Homegoods find for $13!
Pairing fancy crystal for wine with casual mason jars for water worked out great.
The plan was to eat dinner around 5 PM. Keeping in mind that once the filet was cooked to the right temp it would need to rest for about 20 minutes before carving it. Around 3:00, I seasoned the meat and tossed it in the oven at precisely 275 degrees F for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
The Tomato Gratin was baked in advanced at 2 in the afternoon for 40 minutes and sat covered with tin foil until served. This is a great dish to serve at room temp. You could tossed it in a low heat oven for 5 minutes before serving to slightly warm it up. Right before everyone was ready to sit down at the table, I quickly sauteed the green beans that were already blanched on Saturday and sitting in an iced water bath in the fridge with the gremolata that was also prepared on Saturday in a separate bowl.
We were all very please with how dinner turned out and I was super pleased that I was able enjoy the company of my friends... and drink lots of wine :)
I can't wait for leftovers tonight! Hope everyone has a great week and don't forget to pick up a Valentine's Day card for your special someone :)