Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

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Images of Spring

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

I was out partying ALL day yesterday. Such fun but all that fun has me depleted. So I am going to grace the pages today with some fun photos of things making me smile on this fine, spring day.


Ooh! Pictures!

Byron and Michelle’s Engagement Party

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Love love love is in the air. Jay and Valerie will be tripping up the altar in September, but beating them to the vows will be Byron and Michelle in April. Our delightful friends Stephanie & Reeves threw the most lovely party for our betrothed friends last weekend in their comfy, cozy home in our neighborhood. They even keep chickens – remember the eggs from the morning after Valentine’s Day? Their home is filled with cuddly furniture and whimsical treats – like the painting of Rod Stewart dressed as a Storm Trooper, or the wig on the horse mask which would become the center of the party later in the evening.

The sweet guests of honor

Stephanie went all out – there were boodles of shrimp, tons of brownies, yummy spinach dip and tasty bruschetta. Delicious!

Stephanie knows what she is doing!

Perfect strawberries for dipping.

The weather was terrific, too, so we were able to enjoy part of the evening on the deck, viewing the chickens and checking out their fab view of the Atlanta skyline.

But inside was where most of the fun took place. Take a peek.
See what happens next!

V-Day Recap and The Morning After

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Hope you all had a fine Valentine’s Day – no matter who you spent it with. Ours was swell. Lets recap the menu:

Crab Cakes
Creamy Pasta
Fresh Green Salad
Lemon Souffle

It was all so good. The souffle was delicious, but needs some work. I thought it was pretty good for a first try. An oven thermometer would probably help to make sure it’s calibrated correctly.

Some photos?

Crab Cakes and Creamy Pasta

Eric whipped up the cream sauce with the most spectacular oregano and gorgeous Greek olive oil by Frixa, that was just sent by lovely Miss Leigh in St. Simons Island. The Chryssaidis family owns a restaurant, Athena, in St. Augustine, where they go through 20 liters of this elixir each day. Can you imagine? And you can buy both the olive oil and oregano online. Yum.

The sauce goes like this (thanks, Honey!): Melt 2 tbsp butter and add 2 tsp Frixa oregano, infuse with low heat while the pasta cooks. When the pasta is al dente, strain and quickly beat together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup parmesan with a little pasta water. Dress the pasta in the sauce and drizzle with the butter to serve. (cooks note: boom done).

Eric’s crab cakes were essentially crab, a bit of mayo to bind and panko for coating. Perfect.

I dressed the table with three large pillar candles, red beaded placemats from Mexico, silver napkin holders, hammered silver flatware and red champagne flutes. Although I believe I forgot to shoot the table because I was so excited about dinner. Sorry, Darlings.

Here’s a peek at the souffle.

Fresh from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar.

To our plates.

And into our bellies! Nom nom nom. And having an excuse to practice my souffle skills is a delicious reason for dessert, yes?

But, Eric and I both agreed, the really special treat came this morning inside the delicate confines of four very fresh eggs, gifted to us by our oh-so-sweet friends Stephanie and Reeves, who raise chickens just a few blocks away from us. They taste nothing like what you buy from the grocery store. No, these are much more piquant, with a richness that betrays its supermarket brethren, and puts them to shame. And look, Stephanie puts the date each one, so you know exactly what day it was gathered.

Gathered 2 days ago! And more cooking in the background. In Beka!

We didn’t say too much during breakfast – we were too busy trying to savor every bite of those pristine eggs. Thanks Stephanie and Reeves!

Aren't they lovely?

Oh, and my Sweeties – I am giving away two tickets for The Wedding Experience tomorrow. You just need to comment here on this blog post. You don’t have to be a bride, you might have a friend who is getting married and could benefit from this – so get your comments in!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Nat King Cole – Love

Super Bowl, Super Snacks, Super Friends

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Ok, I’m all refreshed after taking the day after Super Bowl to tidy up and plan what I am going to do with the leftovers. I thought you might enjoy seeing how we celebrated.
Join our party!

Salad Nicoise

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Good Morning Darlings!

Survey says – more recipes. And more budget conscious parties.

Let’s tackle more recipes today. And you know, it would be great for a light luncheon for the ladies, too. Two birds, one tuna.

Eric and I learned this at The Ritz-Carlton Cancun a couple of weeks ago when we traveled to Mexico for Christmas. Chef Rory Dunaway shared it with us and it was so good and the perfect foil for all that rich food you consumed over the holidays.

The tuna portion with vinaigrette and eggs

The veggie component

Nicoise Salad

Serves 4

4 Hardboiled Eggs, Quartered

1 Red Bell Pepper, Finely Julienned

3 Artichoke Hearts, Quartered

2 Tomatoes, Cut Into Eighths

1 Cucumber, Peeled and Sliced Into Rounds

12 Long Green Beans, Blanched & Sliced Thin

2 Ounces Black Olives

2 Stalks Celery, Sliced Thin

10 Fingerling Potatoes, Blanched and Cut in Half


3 Anchovies, Minced (note: don’t skip this, it makes the salad. I promise)

1/4 Cup of White Balsamic (note: substitute red, if necessary)

1 Large Garlic Clove, Minced

1 Tablespoon Parsley, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Basil, Chiffonade

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

Seared Tuna

12 Ounces Yellow Fin Tuna

(note: unless you just caught it, all tuna will be found in the store frozen)

Arrange Veggies and Eggs prettily on a serving tray.

For vinaigrette: In a medium bowl combine anchovies and garlic and smash to a paste using the back of a spoon. Add the balsamic, parsley and basil and mix well to combine. Slowly drizzle oil stirring constantly until mixture is thick. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour vinaigrette into serving boat so guests made add their own.

For Tuna: Pat tuna dry with paper towel, season well with salt and pepper. In a hot pan, pour a small amount of oil, carefully place tuna in pan and sear on all sides. It should be very rare. When cooled slightly, slice into 1/4 inch slices. Fan tuna slices along salad plate and serve.

Super easy! And super delish. This salad will make your guests think you are very swanky and the amount of veggies and small amount of tuna makes it very economical.

Chef Rory Dunaway of The Ritz-Carlton Cancun

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to The Little Mermaid Soundtrack – Under The Sea

Fun Find Friday – Beka Cookware

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Good Morning Darlings!

When I first received a press release from the lovely folks at Eco-logic about their new line of cookware, Beka, all I could think about was the first line from Sir Mix A Lot’s video, Baby Got Back….”Oh my Gawd, Becky…”. Now all I can think about is how I can get more of this green cookware. Nothing sticks to these pans. I have been frying eggs every morning for Eric and me, just so I can enjoy this cookware with the non-stick ceramic coating. Fried rice? No problem. Sticky reductions? Wipe it perfectly clean with a paper towel after you use it. Caramel sauce? Pffft…fuggedaboutit, you’re good. You don’t need extra butter to help with the non-stick, you don’t need anything except the food that goes into the pan.

Oh.My.Gawd, Becky, they have a whole line of pans!

I’m sure you would like to know the specifics here, so let’s see what our friend Jo, from DHA Lifestyle, has to say about my new best friend, the Beka cookware.

Traditional non-stick coatings are made with polytetraflourethylene or PTFE. When heated to over 400 degrees Fahrenheit pans coated with this material can give off-gas releasing over a dozen potentially harmful materials. But even more hazardous is the artificial acid PFOA, also known as C8, used in the manufacturing process. Known to cause birth defects in animals, workers and surrounding communities may be exposed to dangerous levels of this carcinogen in the production of PTFE.

To prevent this hazard Beka created a super tough ceramic coating called Bekadura. This non-stick surface makes cooking and cleaning a snap without any of the environmental concerns presented by other materials. The bond between Bekadura and Eco-logic’s super hard aluminum is so strong that the company guarantees the surface for three years.

All I know is that it’s good for the environment and not one thing sticks to it. I may never use another pan except this again.

This is making the gift guide list 2010. Um, Jo, if you were wondering what this blogger might love for Christmas….

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to Sir Mix A Lot – Baby Got Back

Start Your Valentine’s Day Right

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I have quite the treat for you today. My guest blogger is none other than my perfect husband, Eric! Take it away, Honey!

My honey, your blogger for the day!

Good morning, and hello, everyone. I’m lucky enough that I get to eat what you read about here – or most of it, anyway. Patti is a wonderful cook and a joy to cook with, but I also like to cook for her. When it comes to what to cook, I like to keep my recipes simple, tasty, and if I may admit, pretty big — well, not too big. Good-sized. On weekends I love to cook breakfast, and every lady loves breakfast in bed, which is a lovely start to Valentine’s Day.

Surprise your favorite this Sunday with an easy and yummy breakfast of an omelette , hash browns, english muffin, and juice. It goes together quick and sticks to your ribs till dinner. All the info is below the fold.