Joy the Baker, how I admire you. You have such a breezy, charming blog, you've got a talent for making anything made with butter and sugar (and other things as well), and you have this great looking, sunshine-filled life in California. At least that's how it seems to this reader, anyway.
If you haven't discovered Joy's blog yet, do yourself a favor and click on over there. And once you've become hooked, like me, you'll probably want to pick up her brand new cookbook, which out this week. (Stay tuned for a giveaway!) Here, she shares all of her dinner party secrets.
1. Name, occupation, and city
Joy Wilson a.k.a. Joy the Baker. Baker, author, butter appreciator. Venice, California
2. When was the last time you threw a dinner party, and who was invited?
I threw a dinner party to celebrate Valentine's Day. It's was super simple: oysters and champagne. Every couple got an oyster shucking glove, an oyster knife, and a lesson in shucking. Shuck, eat, sip, retreat.
3. What is the best menu you've ever made for company?
I'm such a sucker for a solid brunch menu. My favorite brunch involves homemade Bloody Marys and fresh waffles with a sweet and savory waffle topping bar. People just about lose their minds for this brunch.
4. What's your preference: wine, beer, cocktails?
I love a well-crafted cocktail. Right now I love gin with elderflower soda and a few slices of cucumber.
5. What's your favorite dinner party soundtrack?
I'm so immersed in food preparation that music is sometimes the very last thing that crosses my mind. My friends know this and usually come with their iPods to play. Yeah...I'm that bad when it comes to music. Does crackling cooking bacon count as a soundtrack?
6. Some friends are coming over for a last-minute dinner. What do you make?
Easy! Grab a baguette, greek yogurt, cucumber, olives, and lox. You can spice and season the yogurt with whatever you have on hand: ground cumin, smoky paprika, fresh parsley, lemon juice and zest, or a bit of minced garlic. On a big board, arrange sliced bread, sliced cucumber, olives, yogurt spread and lox. Open a nice bottle of white wine and have people arrange little salmon bites for themselves. Throw together a quick salad for a more substantial dinner situation...but above all, keep it simple!
7. Do you usually cook everything yourself, or do you have help?
I usually cook everything. Maybe I'm a bit of a control freak in the kitchen... maybe.
8. Do you ever buy store-bought food, or is everything on your table made from scratch?
I make most everything from scratch, or buy it from places that make it from scratch. Good, quality, real food is super important to me.
9. What do you like to serve for dessert?
Dark chocolate chunks. Coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts. Soft, sweet whipped cream. Simple and comforting flavors.
10. If you could invite anyone over for dinner (living or dead), who would it be?
Easy... Julia Child.
[Photo credit: Michael Friedman]