"Cooking for your friends is not about cooking from scratch," he says. "It's not about chopping and dicing. It's about being resourceful. Select a good bakery, buy olives and cheeses from the market. Don't try to make it all yourself."

Inviting friends into your home is an intimate gesture, and when you do so, use your most cherished possessions and share their beauty with your guests. Colin says he learned this the hard way when he lost some of his most valuable—and valued—glassware in 1994 during the Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles before he had the opportunity to enjoy it.

Finally, he encourages everyone to jump in and invite their friends over, whether it's a very small supper or a more formal dinner party. "Do your best," he says. "It is more than good enough!"

Colin Cowie's Recipes

Excerpted from O, The Oprah Magazine Cookbook. Copyright © 2008 Hearst Communications, Inc. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved. Available wherever books are sold and online via


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