Every month, my best girl friends and I get together with our husbands to play Bunco. Is it Bunco or Bunko? I can never remember. Anyway, we take turns hosting each month and when it’s your turn, you are in charge of making dinner. We’ve pretty much been around the world as far as cuisine goes, and it’s so much fun to taste everyone’s cooking and sample what they like to eat. It’s part of the fun of the night.
I had just finished a novel called “A Lunch In Paris” and it inspired me to treat my friends to French food. I created a fun table setting reminiscent of a French Bistro to go along with the food.
Hmmm, what should we talk about first, the menu or the table? I’m not sure which I liked better. Let’s go with the table first.
I started out by typing up a cute menu to highlight the dinner we were about to have. Creating a menu around your meal helps to highlight the theme and add some authenticity. I am sure my French is really bad and not grammatically correct, but it’s just for fun, so it’s all good!
I used a white table cloth, simple white plates and napkins, champagne glasses, mini cans of Perrier, and some divine little rose glasses I found at the dollar store to create a sweet setting for all my guests.
I filled some large glasses apothecary jars with real artichokes and apples for a pretty centerpiece and added some candles to each end of the table.
An aperitif is an alcoholic beverage the French drink before a meal to stimulate the appetite. I served Pinot Grigio with a little peach nectar added to sweeten it up. I set up a drink station with some soda and ice so everyone could have what they like.
An amouse boushe is French for “mouth amuser”. It is basically a tiny appetizer that is typically served free before the meal. This little appetizer I created is probably one of the best little things I’ve ever made. It is called Baguette au Fromage. I hope you give this a try.
Just whip up four ounces of Cherve (creamy goat cheese), 3 oz of cream cheese, and three table spoons of heavy cream, with a mixer. Cut up a skinny baguette and bake it on a cookie sheet for about seven minutes at 350. Let the slices cool and place them on a pretty platter, schmear each of the slices with a teaspoon or so of the whipped cheese, sprinkle them with some chopped pistachios and some pomegranate seeds. Take a spoon and dunk it in some honey. I used raw wildflower honey. Drizzle it over the bread. Isn’t this beautiful?
For an easy side dish, I just put some fresh green beans in a roast pan with some truffle oil, course salt, and butter. Just set your roast pan across two burners on your stove top and sautee them over medium high heat just until they get a little color on them. Just do this a few minutes before your guest arrive and cover them with foil to keep warm.
I made some beef stew and mashed potatoes. I called it Boef Bourgignon to be “Frenchy”, but it really is just really good beef stew. I used recipes from The Pioneer Woman.com for the stew and the potatoes.
I tried something new and really special for dessert. I made a cake from scratch! This was a scary adventure for me because I’m not a great baker, but it turned out lovely. I called this a Dacquoise au Citron. In France a dacquoise is a layered cake made of meringue, so this wasn’t exactly a daquoise but couldn’t have been more tasty. I used a recipe from Sugarysweets.com, for this cake.
This cake is easy because the outsides are not frosted, so you don’t have to worry about perfection here. The frosting is worthy of bowl licking. This pretty top is made from homemade frosting and lemon curd that is just swirled in together. It tasted like a lemon cloud.
The beautiful food and table setting was only made more enjoyable by my wonderful friends sitting around it.
The key to a good party is to do what you enjoy doing, whether that means a big formal dinner or something really simple and tasty. If you present things you enjoy, that will shine through and be tasted and savored.
It was really a lovely night. I hope some of these ideas help you with your next night in.