Michael Picón

How To Throw The Best Mid-Week Party At Your Place

While creating the Hip Entertaining website, we learned a trick or two about throwing a great party. I sat down with Ellen Swandiak, editor-in-chief of the site and asked her for more tips. She was more than happy to share.

1. Where does your love of entertaining come from?
It all springs from happy childhood memories. My Slovak family was always entertaining—with enough food to feed an army and cocktails galore. Nothing was fancy, but guests were made to feel at home, like one of the family. A house full of people eating, drinking, talking all at once, watching TV, kids running around, feels normal—and comfortable to me.

2. Why did you choose to work with MinkWell?
I liked the idea that the Minkwell team has a solid magazine background, as I do, so I knew I could trust their opinions in developing my digital magazine. And when I saw the attention to detail and style that went into the development of each project, I was wowed—and sold.

3. What is your go-to main course that always dazzles your guests?
Call me an experimenter! I rarely repeat a dish, because what I like about entertaining is trying new things, and introducing guests to new taste sensations. I think it gives the gathering a sense of excitement.

4. It’s a hazy, hot, humid summer day. I just got done with an 8-hour day at work. Foolishly I made plans to entertain some friends at home this evening. What should I make?
Luckily you live in NYC, where ingredients can be obtained in a flash. Take into account that everyone is on a different eating plan (vegan, pescatarian, paleo, low-carb)—this menu should work for everyone.
A. Stop on the way home and get a large piece of salmon, about 20 inches long. Put lemon slices on it, some minced garlic, and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 18 minutes.
B. While that’s roasting, cook some fresh pasta, and toss with garlic and oil, and fresh basil, and maybe some tomatoes.
C. Serve with a large salad on the side—mixed baby greens, tomato, peach, toasted pignoli nuts—in a zesty vinaigrette. To make things super-easy, make a pitstop into your favorite salad bar for some pre-made bites: stuffed grape leaves, artichoke hearts, wontons, meatballs, etc. You can also grab a few more items to throw into your salad, like fresh peas, edamame, shredded carrots, feta, and even use their vinaigrettes. Be sure to grab a long baguette, and nice piece of cheese.
D. To end the night, either ask a guest to bring dessert—or serve ice cream.

Want More Great Tips On Entertaining?

Visit Hip Entertaining and learn more tips, get recipes, and download her magazine.