This past weekend, I hosted my first “adult” dinner party. Although I’ve cooked for friends many times before, putting together a multi-course meal (cocktails, entrees, and dessert) for more than two guests was an entirely new experience for me. To ensure there were no last-minute disasters, I chose only recipes I had already tried and that required minimal prep.

Fortunately, I realized the cooking gods were on my side when I was able to bike home from my grocery and dollar store run without breaking a single one of the champagne glasses I’d purchased. Dinner proceeded smoothly from there: I set the table, put the salmon in the oven, and started to put together the rest of the salad before my guests arrived.

I then discovered that I’d invited quite a capable group of sous-chefs. My friends chopped, basted, and assembled cocktails without a word of complaint. In fact, they dove in as if I’d provided entertainment instead of chores.

In my defense as a host, the team effort produced some extraordinary results. One friend was so eager for the second round of potatoes that he popped them into his mouth hot out of the oven, while another said the cobbler almost made her cry from happiness. In short, while I don’t usually brag about my cooking, I’d say this dinner party was an unqualified success.


Apple Cider Mimosas



Champagne glasses

Maple syrup

Dark brown sugar

Apple cider




1. Dip the rim of each champagne glass into maple syrup, then brown sugar. Wipe off any drips on the side of the glass and allow to set for a few minutes.

2. Fill half of each glass with apple cider, then top with Prosecco. Serve chilled.


Teriyaki Salmon* Salad (8 servings)

*Tofu can be substituted.



2 1/2 pounds teriyaki glazed salmon filet

1 pound baby spinach

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1 1/2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple

1 bunch asparagus

1 tbsp. dried thyme



1. The secret to this salad’s success is the teriyaki glaze. I buy mine pre-made (Soy Vay Teriyaki Sauce) and baste the salmon with it right before baking. You’re welcome to make your own teriyaki, but be sure that you have the right balance of flavors before coating the salmon.

2. Bake the salmon at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until the center has only a tiny blush of dark pink (approximately 10 minutes). The filet should be buttery and fragment easily under your fork.

3. Wash the spinach and add the cherry tomatoes, apple, and the cooked salmon.

4. Break the asparagus into halves and steam over water seasoned with thyme.

5. Add the asparagus to the salad and toss. Serve immediately.


Perfect Rosemary Roast Potatoes



2 lbs. New potatoes

3-4 tbsp. olive oil

Fresh rosemary sprigs




1. Parboil the potatoes until soft enough to slice.

2. Cut the potatoes into thirds or halves (depending on the size of each potato). Arrange on a baking tray that has been liberally coated with olive oil (2-3 tablespoons).

3. Baste the tops of the potatoes with the remaining olive oil. All of the potatoes should be shiny by the time you’ve finished.

4. Strip the sprigs of rosemary and sprinkle over the potatoes.

5. Add salt. For a more pronounced flavor, use sea salt.

6. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit until golden and crispy. Serve immediately.


Easy Peach Cobbler (adapted from Southern Living, 8 servings)



1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, divided

1 tbsp. baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 cup milk

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

4 cups fresh peach slices

1 tbsp. lemon juice

Ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg



1. Melt butter in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

2. Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, vanilla extract, and salt. Add milk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter over butter (do not stir).

3. Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices, and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly; pour over batter (do not stir).

4. Sprinkle cobbler with cinnamon and nutmeg.

5. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

6. Serve cobbler warm or cool.

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