You may have noticed that it’s been ages since I’ve written about one of my notorious dinner parties. Nine months, to be exact. The combination of an intense case at work, and an even more intense long-distance relationship resulted in the temporary loss of my favorite creative outlet – hosting painstakingly planned, multiple-course dinners for my friends.
With the culmination of both consuming affairs, I realized that I went from throwing weekly dinners to none at all. Though I’m no stranger to extremes, the discrepancy left a clichéd feeling that a part of me was missing. I resolved to jump right back into the game, and hosted a series of impromptu Sunday dinners with whoever was around and hungry.
Something was still off. I craved the thrill of curating the perfect combination of recipes, writing out placecards and menus in my best fourth-grade cursive, and waking up knowing that the only thing I had to do the entire day was cook (with a heavy pour of vino, naturally).
When a friend suggested cooking together in lieu of our reservations the next evening, I decided to turn the quiet night into a full-blown dinner party (back to those extremes…). My friend wanted to try a new pesto caprese stacked salad recipe that she’d been eyeing, so I ran with the idea and crafted an Italian menu: popovers with garlic herb butter, pesto caprese stacks, chicken parmesan, bucatini bolognese, and homemade espresso gelato with sea salt.
Everything was perfect, with the exception of the popovers. The fluffy hollow pastries with golden brown exteriors paired with flavored butter are my go-to first course. Easier to make than traditional dinner rolls, and infinitely more delicious, guests are mesmerized by the swelling batter that “pops” over the tin while baking.
I considered dressing up the popovers with parmesan, but parmesan chicken was already on the menu. Though not exactly Italian, goat cheese has long been my favorite dairy. Goat cheese is more fluid than parmesan, but I opted to take a risk and added it to the center of each popover before baking.
The result was so incredible, that my friends insisted I make the exact same popovers again a few days later for brunch. I happily obliged, and started imagining new popover variations for my next menu. I think it’s fair to say that I’m back in the (dinner party) game. xx tt
t+tTIP: Flavored butter possibilities are endless, but one that I consistently come back to is garlic herb. I make a big batch, and store it in the fridge to add to toast, biscuits, and (of course) popovers. Here is the recipe:
- 2 sticks room-temperature unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel (or whatever coarse salt you have)
- 2 tablespoons chopped herbs (use whatever you like, for this batch I added leftover chives, oregano, and parsley from the popover goat cheese)
- Use a fork or electric mixer to combine