I have also never really thrown a "real" dinner party for 20 women, either. We have dinner with friends at our house all the time, but when I realized that I'm supposed to cook a dinner for a bunch of women I don't know very well, I a little bit freaked out. So, I'm practicing...and practicing...and practicing. I went with a Latin theme because Kristin is a vegetarian (exceot she eats seafood) and I felt like there were a lot of fun foods to make in that genre.
I've mainly practiced making ceviche and my empanadas so far. For the empanadas, I'm going to make a meat kind for the non-veggies at the party, and I pretty much have that one down (it's ground beef, cumin, raisins, toasted almonds, cinnamon, jalapeno). I'm also going to make a sweet potatoe/sage/pine nut/goat cheese kind, as well as a crab meat/cream cheese kind. The pastry itself is not neccessarily the traditional empanada crust, but my friend put me onto the cream cheese pastry crust from epicurious.com, so I'm going with that because it is so good you will want to just keep making it and stuffing it with something just so you can keep eatting the crust part.
Some of them have turned out better than others, but I made a killer batch this Friday and today I'm about to put the crab ones into the oven.
The rest of the menu will be: manchego cheese, ceviche, sangria, green salad with lime dressing, and flan.
We are supposed to go out on the town afterwards to really do the "bachelorette" part, but there are lots of pregnant women coming, supposedly, so I figured we should have a nice dinner before we go so that they can be included.
The flan is the only thing I haven't made at all yet, so wish me luck!!!!