How to enjoy your own party

Petite Lobster Pot Pies
Makes 24 mini pot pies or can be multiplied up to 4 times

These are a huge improvement over frozen mini quiches, and are worth the trouble to make at home.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)
  • 24-cup mini muffin tin
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup very finely diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1/4 cup very finely diced peeled russet potato
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 13/4 cups Quick Chicken Stock or reduced-sodium chicken or fish broth, heated
  • 1 lb shelled lobster meat, cooked and chopped 500 g Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.

  2. Sauté carrots, onion and potato for about 4 minutes or until light golden

  3. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes.

  4. Gradually stir in stock. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened.

  5. Stir in lobster and cook just until heated through. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Set aside.

  6. On a floured surface, roll out pie dough to 1/8 inch thick and cut into twenty-four 3-inch rounds and twenty-four 2-inch rounds. Press each of the larger rounds into the bottom and up the sides of a muffin cup. Fill each with 1 scant tbsp lobster mixture and cover with smaller dough rounds, pinching edges to seal.

  7. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until crusts are golden brown.

  • If you're multiplying the recipe more than 2 times, use a large, heavy saucepan instead of a skillet.

  • Make Ahead. These pot pies can be made ahead up to 2 weeks if kept frozen.

  • Let filling cool to room temperature before filling. Place muffin tin in the freezer until pies are frozen through, about 3 hours. Transfer pot pies to sealable plastic bags and freeze until the day of your party. Place frozen pies back in muffin tin and bake in a 350°F(180°C) oven until filling is hot and crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes.

Pound Cake
Serves 8 to 10 or can be doubled

Pound cake is an excellent base for many desserts. It is much denser than sponge cake and takes the addition of sauces very well. Sliced pound cake is good served with fruit and ice cream, and cubed pound cake works well with chocolate fondues.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
  • 9- by 5-inch (23 by 12.5 cm) loaf pan, lined with parchment paper
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  1. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt and cream of tartar.

  2. Set aside.

  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until very creamy, about 10 minutes.

  4. Beat in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Beat in egg white.

  5. With mixer set to low speed, add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing top.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

  • Variation for an easy fruit cake, stir in 1 cup chopped mixed candied fruit, such as pineapple, cherries, citron, golden raisins, mango and ginger, after the flour mixture.

  • If using a hand mixer in step 2, sprinkle in flour mixture 1/4 cup at a time, beating between each addition. Or add flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until mostly incorporated, then beat until smooth with hand mixer.

  • To double this recipe, bake in two loaf pans, rotating in the oven halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. If you need more than two, it's best to make and bake double batches separately.

About "The Entertaining Encyclopedia"

Entertaining friends and family is one of the best gifts you can give them; parties are the stuff of memories, and far more valuable than anything you can buy.

And one of the best gifts you can give yourself is to learn how to enjoy your own parties, making them more fun for everyone. With "The Entertaining Encyclopedia: Essential Tips and Recipes for Perfect Parties," author Denise Vivaldo has provided 200 of her carefully tested recipes and hundreds of time-proven party ideas and tips, making this book THE go-to resource guide for entertaining.

As a seasoned food professional, Denise has been serving up her own unique brand of food and fun to celebrities and dignitaries through her company, Food Fanatics, a catering, recipe-development, and food-styling firm she founded in Los Angeles in 1988.

"The Entertaining Encyclopedia" is filled with her can't-miss tips, techniques and recipes that ensure success of any event that anyone can host, any time. Denise has included all the ideas, menus, and recipes to create a cozy movie night or to host an exotic dinner party featuring foods from around the world.

>> Buy this book on Amazon: The Entertaining Encyclopedia: Essential Tips for Hosting the Perfect Party

About Denise Vivaldo

Food and entertaining expert-extraordinaire, Denise Vivaldo, has been teaching all things culinary to enthusiastic audiences for more than 20 years.

Denise has created and catered more than 10,000 parties and served guests such as Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, Prince Charles, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, Bette Midler, Cher, and Aaron Spelling.

She began her culinary training at the Ritz Escoffier and La Varenne in Paris, and then graduated Chef de Cuisine from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Denise spent numerous years as a professor at UCLA's Culinary Program and at her alma mater, The California Culinary Academy.

Denise and Food Fanatics has catered events for the Academy Awards Governor's Ball, Sunset Magazine's Taste of Sunset, and Hollywood wrap parties. She has also served as the food stylist for countless local and nationally syndicated television shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NapaStyle with Michael Chiarello, and Inside Dish with Rachel Ray.

Denise has been a featured guest on television shows such as Good Day LA, ABC Morning News, The Food Network, Home & Garden Network, TV Guide Channel, and Lifetime TV. Denise teaches catering and food styling seminars and workshops across the country and internationally.

She is the author several best-selling books such as: How to Start a Home-Based Catering Business, which has sold more than 150,000 copies and is in its 5th printing, How to Start a Home-Based Personal Chef Business, Do It For Less! Parties, and the 2009 IACP Cookbook Award winner, Do It For Less! Weddings. She is currently working on The Food Styling Handbook, a book based on her decades of wide-ranging food styling experience.

To learn more about Denise, visit

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