I love it when an invite out to the Berkshire’s during a drunken Rao’s dinner actually materializes into a real weekend of cooking and drinking nice wines in the country. For us, (being ‘DineGirl’s) this also means a military-style operation of menu planning, faux catering ideas (since we’re not real caterers) and table décor design. All in the name of making everything feel effortless. Since it FINALLY started to actually feel like fall here in the East Coast, it also meant a great excuse to debut some new fall outfits.
Cooking for a crowd in an offsite kitchen can pose some predictable challenges – you don’t know where things are, don’t have everything you might need etc in order to whip up your feast. So in these instances, we’ve found that keeping things as simple as possible works best. A mix of cooked / no cook canapés already spread out while you prep is an easy way to start the evening and the chefs can enjoy themselves as well.
Planning ahead is the key to a successful weekend. We added to the table décor by designing some French country style menus, and included name cards for everyone. (One guest who was supposed to attend had to be substituted out for a new guest, but I hope the new guest wasn’t mad that her name was written in black pen instead of white stamp… but wine has the great power of smoothing out all tensions, I think it all worked out in the end). While it might have seemed excessive to glitter up some gourds and throw them in a bag with the menus and name cards, it definitely added a nice touch of sparkle to the table and kicked off the fall season in style!