Look no further for imaginative dinner party ideas.
Kali Kopley of Petra, in the Village at Northstar, brings a slice of the Mediterranean to the mountain.
On any given day, Kali Kopley is as likely to be laying out phyllo for spanakopita—her Greek grandmother’s recipe—as she is to be chatting with customers about the winemakers behind the 200-plus labels available at Petra, the popular wine bar she co-owns in the Village at Northstar.
“I’m lucky enough to entertain for a job,” says Kopley, who is also a partner in a café called Soupa and a trio of wine bars called Uncorked—all in the Lake Tahoe area.
Kopley believes that sharing food and wine traditions builds strong bonds with family and friends.
In a sumptuous setting—13490 Fairway Drive, a Tahoe Mountain Resorts Lodging property in the resort community of Old Greenwood—she shares some of her best recipes, wine pairings, and tips for home entertaining.
Gluten-Free Flatbread With Garden-Fresh Herbs
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup crushed almonds
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ cup boiling water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- freshly ground pepper
- fresh herbs (like oregano, basil, and thyme), chopped
Combine all ingredients except pepper and herbs, and stir well.
Shape on greased baking sheets.
Bake for 4 minutes at 375 degrees. Let rest.
Grill for 2 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown and firm. 2. Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs.
Coconut Curry Carrot Soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 10 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups water
- 28 ounces coconut milk
- salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil with red curry paste and spices.
Add carrots, and sauté until al dente.
Stir in water and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree until silky.
Yia Yia’s Spanakopita
- 1 pound fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 pound cottage cheese
- 2 cups butter, melted
- 1 pound frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1. Wash and drain the spinach.
Sauté onions in olive oil.
Add the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine feta cheese, eggs, and cottage cheese.
Stir in the cooled spinach mixture until combined.
2. Carefully remove phyllo dough from the plastic sleeves.
To prevent drying, cover one stack with a damp paper towel while working with the other.
Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 14-inch lasagna pan.
Layer 8 to 10 phyllo sheets on the bottom of the pan, brushing each sheet with butter before adding the next.
Spread the spinach mixture on top in an even layer. Layer remaining 8 to 10 phyllo sheets on top of spinach mixture.
3. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, then use a serrated knife to score the top layer.
Bake in a 325-degree oven until deep golden brown, about 1 hour.
Black Olive Cumin Lamb Meatballs
- 1 pound ground lamb
- ¼ cup chopped roasted garlic cloves
- ½ cup chopped kalamata olives
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
1. Stir together lamb, garlic, olives, spices, and salt.
Beat the eggs, then add to the lamb mixture.
Thoroughly work everything together with your hands, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Roll into 2-inch balls, and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake in a 425-degree oven until no longer pink in the middle, about 20 minutes.
Kali's tips for entertaining
Pull off a glitch-free party with a little preparation.
- Know your guests' food sensitivities. You don't want to make homemade pasta if someone can't eat gluten.
- Serve foods that mean something to you, that reflect who you are or a tradition you love.
- It's important to engage your guests. Prep early. You want most things to be almost ready by the time they arrive.
- Consider serving lots of smaller dishes rather than a big plated meal. This keeps everybody moving and interacting.
Kali's tips for wine pairing
Begin With Bottles
“Plan the menu around the wines you want to serve.
People often think they need to choose wine based on the foods they’re serving.
When I entertain, I always start with the wine. It’s easy to pair foods with what you know you want to drink.”
“Everyone knows what chardonnay is, but how many people know what tocai friulano is?
Choose a wine merchant who has a sense of clarity about the flavors and varietals you already like, then ask her to guide you to more interesting choices and educate you about flavors that might pair well with them.”
“Since I’m in California, I often serve California wines.
Trying varietals that are from the same region alongside each other is a great way to learn more about an area.”
“Gather information about what you choose: Where were the grapes grown?
What’s the winemaker’s story?
It’s fun to be able to talk about the wine you’re serving. Consider using display cards: This creates an opportunity for guests to discuss what they smell and taste against the winemaker’s notes.”