An entertaining authority by passion and designer by trade, I love sharing Napa Valley's tips and tricks from years of creative home entertaining.

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  • Location: Napa Valley
  • Favorite foods: Teleme, Smoked Salmon, Lay's Potato Chips

Latest Comments

Salted Caramel Apple Dip

Sounds awful!
Apologies -- I'm going to re-make the recipe tomorrow and let you know what I find. Thanks for the comment.

Serious Entertaining: I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

@flamingo is correct.

Football season brings an abundance of folks gathering at the house for beer. Folks gathering at the house for beer brings an abundance of dips.

So, let's just make it official.
Happy inaugural dip season to you @ell.victor!

Serious Entertaining: An Italian Harvest Vegetarian Dinner Party

@thekate Yes! You would like Sauvignon Vert. It is that simple ;)

Serious Entertaining: How to Make 'Thoughtful Guest' Sides for a Labor Day Cookout

Umama I'm not sure where you got that idea, I was just offering up some dishes that made transporting sides easier.

So no, you shouldn't buy unnecessary stuff.

Bocce Pasta Salad

Bwah ha ha.
2ndstage, you're right.

I meant 4 quarts and the recipe has been updated.

Thanks for your eagle eyes!

Serious Entertaining: How to Avoid Five Wine Disasters

@AmandaB and @MandyEats Egads! Glad you're safe.
(And Yes! Do it slowly! No matter what the wine!)

Chicken Tetrazzini

(It's the only thing going through my head when I make it.)

DIY Microwave Popcorn

You can use regular sugar -- I just like the way the bakers sugar seems to more evenly coat the kernels. Shake twice as hard - grin.

Curry Candy Pecans

Whoops! My original recipe used garlic powder and kosher salt, but I updated to use garlic salt instead. The recipe has been edited to update that change. Thanks for your eagle eyes!

Serious Entertaining: Bellini Bar

@nightowl That sounds absolutely delicious.

Serious Eats Recipes: New and Improved!

This looks amazing. Friendly, usable and lovely! Huzzah!

Serious Entertaining: How to Turn Office Supplies Into Dinner Party Accessories

@gfweb @piccola I work from home and am raiding my own supply closet. Items like index cards and old business cards can be pulled from the recycling bin -- brass brads? Those I encourage purchasing on your own.

Neither I nor Serious Eats condone stealing from the office supply closet.

@shecooks It was meant to be a little silly, I'm glad you took it that way.

Serious Entertaining: Sangria 101

@FromtheFuture LOVE it. I use the Goya Tamarind nectar for my Pad Thai, never thought of it as a Sangria addition. Brilliant.

Serious Entertaining: Sangria 101

@neverending appetite, @Steen Dang. I love this canned fruit juice idea -- I love canned fruit juice in general.

Serious Entertaining: Sangria 101

@MadelynRodriguez Love it!

@mangia_beve It's pretty big, but nothing that couldn't fit into two Rubbermaid-style pitchers (I got it at a rummage sale years ago). I also am not a fan of those jars with the spouts (especially when it comes to fruit).

@MandeeC That comment just made my night. Thanks!

Peanut Butter Honey Balls

Thanks guys, when properly chilled, these are surprisingly grown-up tasting. And cocoa powder! Will definitely have to try.

Serious Entertaining: No-Cook One-Handed Appetizers

Thanks @MadelynRodriguez - those look amazing

@risenshine I can see your point -- some other skewerable one-handed appetizers could include

> sharp cheddar, apple and a slice of salami
> a big red grape, some sheeps milk cheese and tarragon leaf
> grilled green onion that's been made into a spiral and poked, cherry tomato and Manchego chunk.

Serious Entertaining: How to Host a Make-Ahead Brunch

@JerzeeTomato You could make the crescent rolls the day you assemble the casserole, it's just that by giving them the extra day to dry out, they soak up the egg mixture without getting too soggy.

Serious Entertaining: How to Host a Make-Ahead Brunch

@Nikki for 50-60 people, I'd try to make coffee cakes or pastry-type treats two days out and @mr guy's idea for muffin frittatas the day before.

However, I'd definitely buy the fruit salad (unless you have a small army of fruit choppers).

I'd also outsource the coffee -- most coffee shops have self-serve coffee to go.

Good luck!

Holiday Giveaway: Zingerman's Praise the Lard Gift Box

Back in Wisconsin, the Optimist Club hosted a yearly fundraiser, the Pancake and Porky breakfast.

I didn't care much for the pancakes, each year I saved room for the porkies. It was the only time of the year I could eat all the sausage I wanted.

When I was eight, I ate 23 porkies.
Twenty-three links in one sitting.
And I was neither sick nor tired of porkies.

I simply had a calm sense of well-being.
Om, indeed.

Best Find from Trader Joes?

Chicken Tamales. Dang easy to make.

Helen Jane Made My Party

Thanks oodles!
(I'm having just as much fun.)

How often do you sharpen your knives?

I hone 'em several times a week on this ceramic sharpening tool that came with the knives ( and bring them to the hardware store here in town to be sharpened once a year -- sometimes I've brought the more-used ones in at the six months. [Having sharp knives is rad.]