Mise En Place
So one big holiday is behind us, but let’s admit many of us stressed about the cooking and entertaining. Chaos in the kitchen can be avoided at future holiday parties with proper preparation. Working ahead in the kitchen makes even complex recipes a breeze. Our recipe for Bolognase, posted below, cooks all day. Prepare ingredients ahead, start the sauce early and let it reduce to silky perfection for guests to enjoy.
Mapping the Day
Our friend in Montreal gave us foodie tour of a lifetime in September. As we dashed from one neighborhood to another, one classic Montreal restaurant to another, we had time in between to talk about our home cooking habits. Norma explained that she and her husband like to spend every sunny warm day in Montreal out by their pool. The summer season is short, so every moment outdoors is precious. She joyfully explained that pool parties at their house can easily grow from a couple friends and family to 20. And her secret to easy entertaining for a few or many is “mise en place“.
The French culinary phrase, mise en place, means “putting in place”. I liken it to cooking like a TV chef. Assemble, wash, cut, peel, grate and measure all ingredients before you start cooking. Have all the mixing bowls, equipment, pans, wooden spoons and other tools set out. Stage the serving vessels too. You will relax and your cooking will appear effortless to guests.
View from the Table
Norma shops for quality ingredients in advance. The Italian market she frequents is an amazing purveyor of ingredients for Italian fare. She preps everything in advance. Then when the party is rolling, she cooks her marinara or pasta sauce outside in her outdoor kitchen. She doesn’t miss a moment of fun or sun. Ahh, bon appetite.
This recipe may seem complex, but prepping all the ingredients in advance will streamline the process. You will create a sauce with a deep layers of flavors. Your dinner guests will rave about the meal!