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Food and Wine

Janelle Friedman’s Tips for Entertaining and Chocolate Torte Recipe

Looking for tips for entertaining this holiday season? With her many roles as the COO of a family law firm, civic leader, and philanthropist, Janelle Friedman knows a thing or two about hosting a party. Janelle is renowned as one of Dallas’ top hostesses; she is famed for coordinating events that are glamorous and memorable, whether an intimate dinner party at home, a birthday weekend for girlfriends, or a lavish bash for hundreds.

Janelle had the foresight to photograph many of the parties she planned over the years and authored a book on the subject. You Are Invited: How to Plan Everything from Intimate Gatherings to Texas-sized Parties by Janelle Friedman (Reedy Press; October 2015, $35) is available on Amazon and presents tips for entertaining and inspiration. The book covers everything from envisioning the” big picture” of a party, down to the last details of invitations, activities, menus, and decorations. “It’s about being attentive,” said Janelle. “I want my guests to feel important and taken care of.”

Tips for Entertaining

 

Her book turned out so well it won her a coveted guest author spot at the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night last summer, where Janelle vended books alongside such literary icons and celebs as Erica Jong, Robert A. Caro, Mary Higgins Clark, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ina Garten.

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Tips for Entertaining

Jenelle Friedman with Ina Garten at the Hampton Authors Night Book Fair

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Tips for Entertaining

Janelle Friedman at the East Hampton Library’s Authors Night

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A few tips for entertaining at home Janelle shares:

  • An open house where people can drop in anytime between designated hours works well for events in a small space with a big guest list.
  • When hiring a caterer, look first to a restaurant you frequent with a chef who knows you as a regular customer. Require an advance visit to your home to go over the location, layout, and your expectations. Get details down in writing in a contract, including what time the caterer is to arrive. (Janelle suggests by 4:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. dinner.) Establish the wait staff-to-guest ratio, house rules, and cleanup instructions. Have a housekeeper, family member or friend on hand to oversee that anything used from your kitchen or china cupboard is returned to its proper place.
  • Careful attention to how food is displayed and served is an easy way to make a major spark.
  • Ask ahead for any dietary restrictions your guests may have.
  • For a dinner party, start with the right number of people (Janelle suggests no more than 16) who have common ground and compatible personalities. “The goal is for guests to have enough similarities to keep conversations going and enough differences to keep things interesting,” she notes.
  • Get creative with entertainment and party favors. (Janelle’s book presents lots of ideas.)

And the best of her tips for entertaining? The book has just one recipe, so you know it’s very special: Janelle’s flourless chocolate torte, which she often uses for an event dessert, or even individually packaged for take-home party favors. Enjoy!

Janelle Friedman’s Famous Flourless Chocolate Torte

 2 (8-ounce) packages semisweet chocolate squares, coarsely chopped

½ cup butter

5 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

¼ cup sugar

Unsweetened cocoa for dusting

Strawberries and/or blackberries and powdered sugar, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust it with unsweetened cocoa.

Melt chopped chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.

Whisk together egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl. Gradually stir in chocolate mixture. Whisk until well blended. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add in sugar, until sugar is dissolved and soft peaks form. Fold ½ beaten egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the egg white mixture until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. (Do not overbake.) Let stand 10 minutes before removing sides of the pan. Top with berries and dust with powdered sugar to garnish. Serve with a side of whipped cream. Makes: One 9-inch torte.

Chocolate Berry Torte Recipe Flourless Chocolate Torte Recipe

 

 

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