Entertaining: How do you make an impressive but foolproof dinner?

Steel recommends blending comfort and surprise.
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TRANSCRIPT

Tanya Steel: I think when you have people coming over and they’re excited to taste what you’re making, you kind of wanna show off.  You know it’s very easy to do things like . . . to throw roast in the oven.  That’s always my kind of standby because that way I don’t actually have to cook, but I can make a roast chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.  Or roast chicken with tons of lemon and herbs put in the cavity to infuse the chicken.  And you throw in some baked potatoes and some carrots and leeks and you’ve got a beautiful dinner.  So I think roasts are probably the easiest thing for people to serve when people come over.  It’s just . . .  It’s so no muss, no fuss, and you can kind of relax and then make the rest of the entrees, the side dishes, and the desserts.  So that’s what I always recommend.  We do on Epicurious have a ton of things for people to entertain with, and Nigella Lawsons in particular does a very nice job of entertaining recipes.  I use a lot of chef recipes when I entertain because I know that they are kind of simple in some ways, but they’ve got a little bit kind of exotic kick to them.  So that’s always a little fun.  I think when you entertain you wanna give people both comfort and surprise at the same time.  So you might want to make something very comforting like macaroni and cheese, but you add truffles to it so it’s very luxurious.

Recorded on 1/17/08