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Judy Bart Kancigor
- Publié sur Amazon.com
by Judy Bart Kancigor, author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family
from The Orange County Register
January 25, 2007
I am not a football fan. My idea of a super bowl is my mother's Val St. Lambert. But I do love a party, so if my centerpiece has to be the TV, hey, think of what I'm saving on flowers!
My Superbowl guest list is growing each day, and I'm getting nervous. Just how much food do I need for a crowd? And then there's the expense. Not to worry. With Denise Vivaldo's cookbook and catering guide "Do It For Less! Parties" I know I can throw a bash that won't stress me out and won't break the bank.
"People are not used to cooking in quantities," said Vivaldo, a classically trained chef and caterer, whose company, Food Fanatics, specializes in recipe development, consulting, and food styling for print, film and television. "It freaks them out to see how much food they've got. Is it enough? It is too much?" This book eliminates the guesswork with recipes given in chart form for 12, 25, 50 or 75 guests. "Remember, the more things you have on the menu, the smaller the portions you need to serve," Vivaldo advised.
But how much will this party cost, I wonder. "When people entertain, they spend a lot of money instead of keeping it simple," Vivaldo noted. "If you're having a lot of people, you don't have to offer a complete bar. Why not make one kind of drink, say Cosmopolitans, and add something non-alcoholic and some water and you've got it."
This seasoned professional, who has catered 10,000 parties (serving the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bette Midler and Prince Charles), reveals her tricks of the trade for everything from planning the menu to napkin folding.
"When we're entertaining, we're all our own harshest critics," she said. "But if someone else has set the table, the simplest meal is divine."
Vivaldo offers nine complete party themes, each with a menu, shopping list, decorating ideas (including invitations, table linens, favors and entertainment), time- and money-saving tips, an equipment list and a menu countdown, so you're not doing everything at the last minute.
"You don't need to spend a lot of money on matching linens," Vivaldo advised. "Look around your house. Everything doesn't have to match. Be creative. You can use a Mexican serape or even $10 sheets from Target. People don't come to your home to see your couch. They come for the company and a glass of wine."
For Superbowl I'll score with the Toscana menu: Classic Caesar Salad, Chilled Penne Pasta with Pesto and Pine Nuts, Italian Meatball Lasagna, Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce, Tiramisu, and Chocolate Almond Biscotti. Touchdown!
Vivaldo's game plan makes it all simple, starting with shopping for non-perishables the week before. I see two days before the game I can prepare the gnocchi dough and biscotti, with the bulk of the cooking the following day. On party day I have only to cook the gnocchi, reheat the lasagna and gnocchi sauce, toss the salad and brew coffee. Then I can relax and enjoy the game. Or you enjoy the game and I'll enjoy you!
"People make themselves crazy when they entertain," Vivaldo reflected. "If you could enjoy yourself more, you would do it more often."
CHILLED PENNE PASTA WITH PESTO AND PINE NUTS
from "Do It For Less! Parties" (Terrace) by Denise Vivaldo
1 1/2 pounds penne pasta (uncooked)
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta in batches until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to overcook. Drain. Drizzle with a little olive oil if needed to keep from sticking.
2. Process basil leaves, olive oil, walnuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper with a food processor until mixture forms a coarse paste. Taste and adjust seasonings.
3. Toss cooked pasta and pesto together in a large mixing bowl (in batches if needed for manageability). Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.
3. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Serves 12 (options for 25, 50 and 75 in the book)