Sometimes when I am preparing for a dinner party, I let myself get lost in a pretend land where I have a reality cooking show. Wearing a frilly apron and pearls, I whip through the fridge, pulling out ingredients and humming along to Miles Davis on the radio. I rattle off the recipes to the audience (Nelson.) I laugh at my mistakes and spills and blush bashful when something comes out of the oven that makes me proud.

January Dinner Party

Yesterday my La-La Land looked a bit like this:

January dinner party

January dinner party

January dinner party

January dinner party

January dinner party

January dinner party

January dinner party

With a dozen friends coming over after work for a meal I marketed as “a casual happy hour,” the menu got a wee bit carried away, as it goes when I receive an issue of Bon Appetit mid-week. My friend David wanted to bring black eyed peas and make his famous cast iron skillet cornbread. Sarah wanted to make kale chips. Everyone else wanted a warm meal and a cold drink. And so, I added roasted Brussels sprouts, baked barbeque chicken, and lots of dessert. Lots and lots of dessert.

January dinner party

January Dinner Party

Baking apple pie reminds me of my Grandmother Maxine — known for her crust prowess. These beauties would make her smile. The coconut cake, made with coconut oil and milk and topped with toasted flakes over a buttercream cream cheese frosting, went over well too. (It was a take on a recipe in this month’s BA, and a nod to the southern theme.)

January dinner partyJanuary dinner party

The sponsors of my pretend cooking show would be Kitchen-Aid, Tory Burch and Bare Minerals. The eggs would be fresh from the chicken coop. The sprouts would have come from my garden. The guest would sit together around a great kitchen table, rather than folding chairs with plates in their laps like last night. We would play cards after dinner and sip French press coffee, relaxed and happy.

That said, I’ve got the bones of this daydream right: an incredibly sweet group of friends, great food and lovely Mr. Davis on the radio. A delightful start to the weekend, indeed.

Watch your back Martha,

K