This is party season — but that needn’t mean slaving until the wee hours when it’s your turn to play host. Sure, you’ve heard most of this advice before, the part about planning, preparation and not panicking. What you don’t often hear is equally important: The real trick to throwing a memorable bash lies in restraint. Don’t serve six courses at a dinner party, and there’s no need to turn your cocktail spread into a bacchanalian extravaganza.
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup Marcona almonds
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, black pepper
1. In a food processor, mince the garlic and almonds. Add the edamame, parsley, cheese and lemon zest; pulse until coarsely blended.
2. With the motor running, add the olive oil a slow, steady stream, blending until emulsified but some texture remains. Season with salt and pepper. The pesto may be prepared up to 1 week ahead, covered in an airtight container and refrigerated. Serve with crostini.
—Diane Worthington, “Seriously Simple Parties,” (Chronicle Books, $24.95, 224 pages)
BLUE POTATO TARTS
Basic pastry dough: