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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Alina Gersib

Honey Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate Sauce Taste Test


Happy Foodie Friday! This recipe comes courtesy of Penny and Eleazar Martinez.

www.thefrankincensetree.com

info@thefrankincensetree.com

Each of our Taste Test Reviews comes with the original recipe and the tester's notes/changes listed with the ingredient list in blue. We hope you enjoy!


This dessert is absolutely spectacular. The poached pear and chocolate blend together in a marvelous way to create a dish that pairs perfectly with the Sauvignon Blanc. The wine adds a crisp balance to the sweetness of the dish. On the more decadent side, my fiancé and I split one pear, and it was the perfect amount.


Make sure you read through the recipe before you begin as there are a few steps you will want to complete before starting. The pears need to chill for 2 hours before topping with chocolate so account for this extra sitting time. When it comes to making a double boiler one website suggested you can use two pots stacked, however, I would recommend a glass bowl on top of a pot so you can see how hot the water is below. I used a pot and my chocolate got a bit too hot and overly thick.



Honey Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate
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Download • 2.42MB

Makes 6 servings

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes + 2 Hours for chilling

Cook Time: 45 Minutes


Ingredients for Pears:

*6 Bosc pears, firm, with stem still attached (buy these firm and 3 days before you need them so they can ripen during this time).

*1 (750-ml) bottle dry vermouth

*1 cup water

*6 tablespoons honey

*1 pinch flaky salt, plus more to finish (Flaky salt is different than regular salt. You need flaky. Maldon is a good brand.)


Preparation for Pears:

*Find a pot that comfortably fits the 6 pears in a standing position (3-quart saucepan). Don’t add the pears, yet.

*Add the vermouth, water, honey and a pinch of salt to the pot.

*Set on the stove over medium heat to bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the honey dissolves.

*Peel the pears in big, long strips from the top to almost the bottom. Stem stays attached to the pear.

*Carefully add the pears to the simmering poaching liquid. Cover the pears with a lid that’s one size too small for the pot, so it helps to keep the pears submerged.

*Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer (boiling is too harsh for the fragile fruit).

*Simmer the pears, covered, for 10 to 25 minutes. (Mine took about 20 minutes)

*Turn them every so often so they cook evenly.

*After 10 minutes, start checking them often so they don’t overcook.

*To check: Pierce the bottom of the pear with a cake tester or toothpick; it should meet little resistance. Since the pears will continue to cook off the heat (thanks to carry-over cooking), you want them slightly less tender than you’d like to serve them.

*After you’ve removed the pears, raise the heat under the pot and bring sauce to a boil.

*Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened into a syrupy consistency.

*Pour the syrup over the pears.

*Refrigerate until totally chilled, at least 2 hours.


Ingredients for Chocolate Sauce:

*8 ounces chopped dark semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

*7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

*1/2 cup sugar

*1/2 cup almond milk

*1/4 cup hot water

*1 teaspoon vanilla

*1 pinch salt


Preparation for Chocolate Sauce:

*Combine the first five ingredients in the top of a double boiler.

*Simmer on a medium low heat and stir until chocolate is smooth, about 5 minutes.

*Remove from heat and add vanilla and pinch of salt.


To Serve the Pears:

*Add each whole pear to a shallow bowl.

*Pour an even amount of syrup on top of each pear.



Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib