The Ever-Important Timeline
Most important lesson I've learned: everything always takes longer than I think it will. Always.
Keeping a list is so helpful -- especially when someone offers to help. I can show them the list of things to be done and let them go wild!
My list is very detailed -- don't let that intimidate you. I'm just always striving to be organized. It's a constant battle!
Infuse whiskey with apples. Make soup, pie and sauces. (To make reheating easier and to prevent soggy crust, the pie will be stored at room temperature.) The sauces are going to be stored in microwave-safe containers to make it easier to reheat. I'm going to serve the sauces in gravy boats, but even a heat proof glass container would be fine.
I pull out the other serving dishes I'm going to use and make sure they're clean. Now is the time to determine whether we'll be serving "family style" (easier) or if we're going to plate the food for our guests (fancier). If I feel like setting the table at this point, there's nothing wrong with that. It'll save me time tomorrow!
Straighten house, set table, set up bar, chill champagne, mix pitcher of "mocktails" (except for club soda) and place in fridge to chill.
TIP: For the Apple Whiskey Cocktail, consider printing the recipe and placing it at the bar so guests can mix their own.
TIP: For each of my tasks, I like to set a timer so I don't get carried away and take too long on any one task. Sometimes I get distracted by shiny objects -- the timer keeps me focused!
Make sure there's plenty of ice for drinks
Now, head to the kitchen and get busy!
Brine pork chops (careful: this is for a maximum of 2 hours)
While the pork is soaking in the brine:
Prepare dip, cut pita bread into wedges and store in ziplock bag to keep fresh
Stuff pork chops and sear both sides. Then cover and store in fridge until ready to put in oven
Prepare potatoes, cover and set aside until ready to put in oven
Slice vegetables and store in fridge (keep the carrots separated because they take longer to cook)
Put sour cream and chives in serving dishes, cover and store in fridge
Tidy up kitchen, bathroom, living room and any other common areas. Make sure there's enough tp and hand towels . . .
Set dip/pita bread out
Place condiments on the table (sour cream, chives, salt/pepper), maybe pitchers of ice water too
Take pork out and place in baking dish on kitchen counter
Place champagne in ice at bar so that it stays chilled
Get the music going!
Get dressed (grab a glass of wine to sip while getting dressed! If I forget, Jeff usually reminds me!)
At this point, I usually just remind myself to relax -- these are our friends. Everything is going to be fun. Whatever happens, happens!
Greet guests and enjoy cocktail hour (sneak away quickly and preheat the oven)
When oven is preheated (about 15 minutes), put the potatoes in
40 minutes later, place pork chops in oven
Re-heat soup, serve (just before soup is heated, call guests to fill their drinks and take a place at the table). If I wanted, I could even reheat the soup earlier and keep warm on low in a crock pot.
Clear soup bowls and let guests take a break from the table while vegetable medley is sauteed
Turn oven off and place pie in to reheat
Serve and enjoy dinner
Invite guests to mingle while table is cleared.
After a little break, brew some coffee and go ahead and get the sauces heated and dessert served up.
Bid farewell to guests and pat myself on the back for a job well done! Jeff and I have been known to "high-five" each other.