My Aunt has a handy rule for cooking and entertaining. She suggests learning to make 5 menus really, really well. That way - you know if you need to quickly impress someone you know the end product will turn out great. And, if you constantly entertain the same people, you can rotate to the next menu and it seems like you are just full of recipes that turn out perfectly each time.
Her go-to Vegetarian entertaining menu consists of these stacks... portobello mushrooms marinated overnight in teriyaki marinade (I used Carribean Jerk tonight and it was amazing), covered in thick slices of chevre cheese and tomato.
Marinate mushrooms overnight
Place on tin foil and cover with remaining marinade
Grill in tin foil about 20 minutes
Add slice of cheese and top with tomato (and breadcrumbs if you have them)
Close grill lid and let cheese melt
Assemble on plates filled with 1/2 arugala and 1/2 couscous
Drizzle home-made balsamic over arugala and top with mushroom stack
Drizzle more balsamic on the plate - top with roasted asparagus (tossed with EVOO and balsamic, roasted at 400 until you can smell the balsamic)
Balsamic (I didn't measure):
2 pressed garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustard, seasoned salt, basil leaves, squirt agave. This was probably the best dressing I've made so far.
And there you are... a great looking plate for the neighbors or whoever - in no time at all.
The wine tonight - Antanjo Rioja Tempranillo. The nose? Definitely some dark cherry and even black licorice. The mouth feel is considerably smooth and very mouthwatering. There is a hint of spice and almost chocolate amongst the berry flavor. It was only $7.99 at World Market- and well worth it. Absolutely delicious.