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Top Five Things to Keep on Hand …

I’m always intrigued by what the best entertainers secrets are – what do they do if someone just drops by unannounced? What do they do to stay inspired? What do they keep at arms reach at all times?

These days my reading is limited to short magazine articles, sound bites, and web articles for the most part – so I subscribe to a number of blogs from those people I admire and would love to learn from on all accounts … some of them happen to be in the world of entertaining.  Here is what I’ve gathered that might be a little off the beaten path from those like Giada De LaurentiisIna Garnden, and of course Martha as well as from the tops in the etiquette world …

1. Nuts. Across the board this seems to be a foodie’s quick and easy tip on keeping guests happy.  Whether it’s as an easy appy, a quick side with drinks before you head to dinner or a party staple – keep nuts on hand.  The top suggested nuts? Almonds, Cashews and peanuts. PS – nuts stay “good” in a sealed container for up to 3 months.

2. Parchment Paper. This one comes from the Barefoot Contessa who suggests that parchment makes food all that much more crisp and also saves you in the clean up process so you can spend more time enjoying people and less time in clean up mode. Huh. Less clean up. I’m in.

3. Lists. From weddings to small dinner parties, all of the food divas recount post-its, to-buy and to-do lists (week before, two days ahead, an hour ahead etc) as their top tip for seamless entertaining.  For some great party planning lists and questionnaires check out Martha’s party planning tips.

4. Beverages. You can get away without serving a pop-by guest food but should always offer a drink.  Say you get dropped off after an event and your kind chauffeur walks you inside or a neighbour pops by for a quick afternoon visit?  Always have a few bottles of wine on hand – white and red.  The experts suggest having a “house” wine that you purchase by the case and keep stored but close by.  Friends have also taught us an assortment of teas makes for an easy afternoon visit beverage and leaves you with options day or night.

5. Puff pastry. Surprised you with that one – didn’t I?  This one makes my top five because I constantly read of super easy recipes either for breakfast treats (like Apple turnovers) or evening delights that use a cheater puff pastry.  So if you have surprise house guests or are making an elaborate dinner and want an easy but still homemade dessert (like cinnamon twists) – this one is something you might not think of – but is so nice to have on hand in the freezer.

Have a great day!

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