• Read recipes over, especially if I've never made them before, so the scenario is fixed in my mind before I begin.
• Buy more cream than I expect to use (I forgot the strawberry shortcake had cream in both the dough and softly whipped on top.)
• Don't get too complicated with the cocktails unless I have a designated bartender.
Burrata with speck, English peas, Parmesan
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Note: Adapted from "The Mozza Cookbook," by Nancy Silverton.
1/3 cup shelled fresh peas
20 sugar snap peas, sliced 1/8-inch thick lengthwise
10 mint leaves, very thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for grating
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 thin slices of speck (about 2 ounces) or prosciutto
8 ounces burrata, or fresh mozzarella, cut in 4 pieces
1. Blanch the shelled peas in a saucepan of boiling salted water, 30 seconds. Transfer peas to ice water to cool, about 1 minute. Drain.
2. Put the peas, sugar snap peas and mint in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the olive oil; toss.
3. Drape 4 slices speck on each of four salad plates; nestle 1 piece burrata in the center of each. Pile the dressed peas on top; finely grate a light layer of Parmesan over all.
Per serving: 300 calories, 23 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 329 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.
Cooks' mad dash
6 dinner parties to host in a week? Lessons learned along the way
Burrata with speck, English peas, Parmesan: (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)