How to host a dinner party for 10 or more
Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Invite 10 or more people over and throw them a dinner party. You have your full team at your disposal. (This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds ...)
Cue the smoke and the music
Yes, at first doing a dinner party for 10 or more people might feel like an impossible mission, but you’re up to it. You’ll have backup (from the grocery store) and you’ll have the following plan. Then you’ll have a great party everyone will enjoy.
Before the meal
Greet your guests with an exciting array of finger foods (that you didn't have to do anything to prepare). Go to the best grocery store in town and buy a selection of cheeses. Tell your cheese seller that you want to make a cheese board and you're looking for between three and five cheeses that go well together. Then ask to sample their recommendations.
At the grocery store, buy fancy crackers (no Ritz and saltines please!) and some grapes to go on your board.
Finally, go to the wine store and tell them what types of cheese you bought. Ask them for a good light wine to go with the cheeses. Buy at least one bottle of red and one of white to be consumed before the meal. Also, tell the wine seller that you’re having a green salad to start and beef with creme fraiche for dinner. He or she will have recommendations for what to serve with those dishes.
When serving a large dinner party, keep the courses minimal because then you don’t have to worry about the timing of the food. In fact, this large dinner party menu will feature just three courses (in addition to the cheese board). Things get started with a salad.
This might sound boring, but you can make some fantastic salads with high-quality ingredients. For instance, make a Caesar salad topped with rotisserie chicken (store-bought for ease of preparation) and homemade croutons baked the night before. Then all you need to do is toss the salad and serve family style.
The main course
For the main course, consider beef tenderloin. Yes, it can be an expensive item, but with a party this large, your food costs are going to be high regardless, so you can justify a higher expense.
To make the tenderloin, right before you serve the salad, liberally coat the tenderloin in salt and pepper and sear it on all sides. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes or until it has reached an internal temperature of 145-150 degrees F., then remove from the oven. Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes.
In other words, right as the salads are done, you can be slicing the tenderloin in medallions, which you will serve over rice that you cooked in a rice cooker and vegetables you sautéed last night and reheated. Top each tenderloin with creme fraiche for a quick sauce.
For the final course, serve a store-bought dessert with ice cream. Get the dessert from a nice bakery and no one will complain that it wasn't homemade.
Then sit back, perhaps serve after an after-dinner coffee or dessert wine, and enjoy the rest of evening. You can think about the dishes tomorrow.