As I mentioned in my weekly recap and WIAW, I hosted my second annual dinner party last Saturday evening. I’m calling it second annual because I hosted my first one last February, and I’m hoping to continue the tradition of bringing friends from different parts of my life together on a Saturday night during a short and chilly month for years to come.
Hosting a dinner party is a lot of fun, and a lot of work. Especially if you’re taking allergies into consideration. Everything I make is gluten free as well as free from tree nuts, oranges, and avocados (because I’m severely allergic) and this time around, I was coming off an elimination of grains, dairy and soy. I had guests coming who have dairy and soy allergies, so even though I added dairy back to my own diet the day before the party, I needed to ensure that I had options for everyone. Last year, my quiches worked well because it’s easy to make a couple to fit different restrictions, so I decided to go with a similar menu this time around. First up was a Smoked Salmon & Quinoa Quiche – free of all three allergens!
I wanted to make sure I had a vegetarian option, so for the second quiche I went with a goat cheese and asparagus combination. Instead of the cornmeal crust I’ve made in the past, I experimented with a grain free rosemary buckwheat crust, which was simple to make and turned out well. I’ll be sharing that recipe soon.
One of my friends brought a salad to go with the quiches, and I considered making some roasted vegetables to serve alongside them. I didn’t in the end because there was so much food already, but if you’re looking for a complementary side dish, my Roasted Butternut Squash & Asparagus would make a great addition. The biggest tip I can give when choosing a main course for an allergy free dinner party is to go with a “food theme” that allows for multiple options. For a girls’ night, quiches and frittatas and other brunch-type items are always winners. If you want to get fancier, you can still make it easier on yourself by choosing a big grain or vegetable based main, and then making a couple of proteins so people can pick and choose.
The same idea applies for dessert. Lots of individual servings, like cupcakes or muffins or brownies, can be better than a large cake or pie. I went with all three! My Grain Free Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies are also dairy, soy, and egg free. A batch of Peanut Butter Confetti Muffins was “just” gluten free. And I came up with a new recipe for grain and dairy free quinoa flour cupcakes that I’ll share soon. Although, I was a little sorry I didn’t whip up a Pumpkin Apple Spice Loaf or some Pumpkin Muffins, because last year I served them and apparently I’m not the only one who’s still indulging in pumpkin treats long past the season…
So, to recap. The best advice I can give for anyone hosting an allergy free dinner party is to serve food that people can pick and choose among within a common theme. That way everybody’s happy. And it doesn’t take any more work on your part as the host or hostess. Just some creative thinking 🙂 Be sure to check with everyone in advance so you know what you have to work with as far as different dietary restrictions go, and you’ll be surprised at the combinations that can accommodate most people. Play around, see what you come up with, and have fun hosting!
Have you ever hosted a dinner party?
If so, what’s your favorite part about playing host(ess)?
Best dishes to make ahead for a party?
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