Every once in awhile I get a flash of memory of my grandmother (maternal) and the importance that she put on ‘entertaining’. It did not matter if it was a new friend, a colleague, a family member or a party of many. To her it was so important to have things ‘just so’. The food and drinks could be simple, and were always beautiful and well prepared. It was her way of showing respect and love for her guests, her home, and even herself. She ingrained much of that into my little brain and, out of everyone in my family, I think she would be the most proud of our little restaurant and all that we have accomplished here.

On Thursday Mark and I prepared a wonderful dinner for 10. Catering ‘to go’ is a winning situation for all of us, since it keeps cost down for our client and helps us to avoid utter exhaustion from preparing the feast and then delivering/setting up/serving the food. We do offer many kinds of catering but this is our favorite way to do it. Especially since I cannot deliver right now with my ankle still healing.

The hostess chose all foods that would be great sitting out and not need any extra heat. The main course was a 6 lb beef tenderloin that had a fantastic crust with salt and pink peppercorns, and was beautifully rare and well-rested. We laid out the slices on a bed of flat-leaf parsley and surrounded it with heirloom tomatoes from Hand Sown Homegrown. We tucked in 2 smaller end pieces that were a bit more well-done in case someone at the party did not appreciate perfectly cooked beef (read: rare!) and it was a great looking platter. SO SIMPLE and yet so elegant. Tender and flavorful, accompanied by a platter of roasted vegetables (green beans/portabellas/carrots/garlic) studded with goat cheese, this is great party food. The hostess chose brie-en-croute and savory tarts for appetizers and dessert was both a fruit and cheese platter, (gorgeous fruit and 3 wonderful cheeses, garnished with pistachios) and chocolate cups filled with chocolate ganache and drizzled with white chocolate. I would love to go to a party like that!

My gramma would have been so proud. All of it was very simple for us to make and yet so elegant and of such high quality that it just feels really good to send it out. This was my first cater in 2 months and it was difficult to do. Mark had to cater to me while we prepared the cater! My crutches are a bit slick in the kitchen and it is hard for me to carry anything so he was getting whatever I needed and then taking it away when I was done. How annoying! For both of us! On Saturday we are doing a dinner for 30 and I think it is very good that we had a smaller one to ‘practice’ with, first. This too is simple (for us) food: Chicken Cacciatore; rosemary roasted red potatoes; roasted green beans; fresh Italian style bread; organic greens salad and a couple of our dressings… and we will be delivering and setting this one up. Not serving, though: we are going out to dinner with mom and dad Downen, as well as Uncle Chuck and Aunt Jan. I will report on that next week.

Yes, my stamina is down and my ankle’s tolerance for standing is low. We will go in early so we have lots of prep time since I am SLOW at everything these days (again: ANNOYING!) and yet perhaps that is part of my message in all of this pain. Go slower. It is ok to slow down a bit. (Deep breathe cuz that is hard to say).. ok one more time out loud: IT IS OK TO SLOW DOWN A BIT. whew. Do you believe it? I am not sure I do yet… in time perhaps.

What lessons did you learn this week? Do Share!