New On The Blog

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

S’mores with Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows 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!


Wow! These marshmallows are absolutely a treat. They turned out as the fluffiest dessert I've ever consumed. The vanilla flavor is strong, which I love, and gives the s'mores a dimension that isn't usually present with the store-bought variety. A tried and true summer and campout classic, this s'more tasted more like something you'd find at a starred restaurant.


A few years back a friend introduced me to using Whole Foods Milk Chocolate instead of the usual Hersheys, and this is one thing I HIGHLY recommend. The chocolate is much more flavorful and enhances the whole experience.


If you make the homemade marshmallows (which are insanely delicious) just be careful when heating, they dissolved and melted much faster than store-bought marshmallows, and I was left with a bit of a sticky mess. I visited three different stores and they were all out of corn syrup so I substituted agave syrup. This could have caused the extra stickiness. If you're able to find corn syrup, definitely opt for that. Overall, these tasted amazing and you're in for a real treat!


S'mores with homemade vanilla marshmallo
Download • 1.90MB

Makes 16 servings

Preparation Time: 4 hours 15 minutes (With 3 hours rest)

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

Cost: $17 (If you make the homemade marshmallows)


Ingredients for S'mores:

*1 box graham crackers

*8 milk chocolate bars (Recommend Whole Foods Milk Chocolate)

*Homemade marshmallows (Ok, we are getting fancy here. You can always just use

store bought marshmallows, but these homemade ones are awesome!)


Ingredients for Homemade Marshmallows:

*Vegetable oil, for brushing

*4 envelopes unflavored powder gelatin (3 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 teaspoons)

*3 cups granulated sugar

*1 1/4 cups light corn syrup

*1/4 teaspoon salt

*2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


Preparation:

*Brush a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with oil.

*Line with parchment, allowing a 2 inch overhang on the long sides. Brush parchment with oil, set aside.

*Put granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 3/4 cup water into a medium saucepan.

*Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.

*Cook, without stirring, until mixture registers 238F on a candy thermometer, about 9 minutes.

*Meanwhile, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle with gelatin.

*Let soften 5 minutes.

*Attach bowl with gelatin to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

*With mixer on low speed, beat hot syrup into gelatin mixture. Gradually raise speed to high. Beat until mixture is very stiff, about 12 minutes.

*Beat in vanilla.

*Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with a spatula.

*Set aside, uncovered, until firm, about 3 hours.

*Sift 1 cup confectioner’s sugar onto a work surface.

*Unmold marshmallow onto confectioner’s sugar, remove parchment.

*Lightly brush a sharp knife with oil, then cut marshmallow into 2-inch squares. (Oiled knife keeps from sticking to marshmallows.)

*Sift remaining 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar into a small bowl and roll each marshmallow in sugar to coat.


For S' mores:

*Light fire.

*Break graham crackers and chocolate into squares.

*Roast marshmallow on a stick until light brown.

*Sandwich chocolate and marshmallow between two graham crackers.


Recipe and Taste Tester - Alina Gersib