by David Burtka
106 killer recipes, 16 creative party themes, and 250 gorgeous photos--plus playlists and easy planning tips--make LIFE IS A PARTY the indispensable cookbook and guide for home cooks.
Chef, actor, and entertaining authority David Burtka knows that every day can be a party. Over a lifetime of throwing epic gatherings, the Cordon Bleu-trained Burtka has perfected the formula for creating easy and perfect get-togethers at home. Now, in the pages of his debut cookbook, he's sharing all of his secrets and an intimate look into the lives of one of Hollywood's favorite families. Everything you need to throw a memorable party, or to make a delicious weeknight meal, can be found right here.
Whether your event and budget are modest or you're going all-out, and whether the guest list is an intimate crew or it's a blowout bash, David's sixteen party themes-from cozy game nights at home to elegant New Year's fêtes-are built around doable, show-stopping menus that take the guesswork out of high-impact hosting. Complete with endless and fun ways to mix-and-match dishes, create stunning decor, prep ahead, and get guests involved, David helps you put all the elements in place to make every party a success without ever losing your cool.
At the heart of the book are David's amazing recipes, including delicious twists on comfort classics like Corn Cakes with Bacon Jam, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, and Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich Cake. And you don't need to wait for a party to try recipes like Ham, Egg, and Cheese Calzones; Mint Pesto Pasta; and Thyme and Gruyère Popovers. Never one to miss the opportunity to toast friends and family, David also shows you how to make delicious cocktails for a crowd: think Mojito Slushies, Charred Peach and Plum Sangria, and Cucumber-Lime Spritzers. So raise a glass and get cooking! Because there's no better time than now to make your life a party.
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours
- 2 whole chickens (about 4 pounds each), patted dry
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Big handful of fresh herbs, such as thyme, oregano, and rosemary
- 2 lemons, halved
- 3 leeks or purple spring onions, quartered lengthwise and rinsed well
- 2 red onions, each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and halved
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Season the chickens inside and out with a healthy amount of salt and pepper. Stuff the chickens with the fresh herbs and lemon halves, then truss the legs with kitchen twine. Put the leeks, onions, and potatoes into a large roasting pan. Nestle the chickens over the vegetables, breast-side up, making sure the chickens do not touch each other.
3. Roast, uncovered, until the chickens are golden brown and cooked through, about 1 hour 30 minutes. When the chickens are fully cooked, the juices will run clear when the thigh meat is poked with a sharp knife and the legs will move easily when wiggled; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 165°F. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the chickens stand for 15 minutes before carving. Serve the chicken family-style on a large platter, together with the vegetables.
MAKE A PAN SAUCE
To make things extra fancy, make a pan sauce: Once the chickens and vegetables are removed from the roasting pan, set the pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Cook until the drippings start to bubble, then pour in the white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring until the pan is completely deglazed (all the brown bits are unstuck), the wine has burned off its alcohol, and the mixture resembles a sauce, 3 to 4 minutes. You can also whisk in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose or Wondra flour to make a quick gravy. Pour the pan sauce over the carved chicken and serve at once.