Sunday, November 8, 2009


After a week of last minute deadlines, the aftermath of a trip, and the reconciliation with a dear friend, I was so excited to have my playdate....but not in any way prepared.  My first issue arose when I couldn’t find chestnuts.  Any attempt to find chestnuts merely produced lewd comments that under different circumstances I would have appreciated.  Three grocery stores later and a download from regarding peeling techniques, I was in the kitchen prepping like a mad woman. Forty minutes before Guests were due at the front door, I had no table dressed, no soup completed, and no sandwiches made, but, was immersed in a conversation regarding the choir solo my tween had scheduled for the following day.  As I issued assignments to my husband, I turned around and ran into said tween, sending my freshly peeled chestnuts crashing to the floor.  After yelling an expletive, and making the hormonal tween burst into tears, I threw away both the chestnuts and my application for mother of the year and stepped onto the porch to regroup.  

When my girls arrived and the meal was still far from completion, the lentil dip intended for the boys was offered as a late afternoon snack.  As I put the gluten free crackers into a bowl, Food Intolerance presented the evening’s first rock; a gorgeous engagement ring from the Very Tired Doctor... and it just so happened, we had champagne to celebrate.  So as we got the engagement story in full, my patient friends sipped champagne as I peeled chestnuts and celery root and assembled sandwiches.  

Unfortunately, my mad dash of prep was not sufficient for an overly booked Level Headed Mommy; thus she took her soup and sandwich togo, and Food Intolerance and I made our way to the family room with plates on our laps and the smell of roasting apples in the air.   After my sandwich, I carefully assembled the caramel sauce,  and was certain I had found the ultimate fall dessert... The envisioned gooey decadent sauce turned into the second rock of the evening; rock candy adhering to the side of the apple with vigor.  If one was lucky enough to assemble a bite of warm apple with said sauce, one experienced shards of culinary disaster digging into his/her dental work... and yes, I could hear my guests chewing through this mess from across the room.  After the boys joined us for leftover sandwiches and an attempt at dessert, we moved back into the family room for tea and talk.  Soon, our Very Tired Doctor announced that he was headed towards sleep again, thus it was time to end the night. The timing was off, the kitchen was messy, and the dessert was disastrous, but, we were still together.  Still able to create an impromptu celebration of special event, and still able to talk and laugh over some good wine and food.  What else do you want from a playdate?

Cooking Notes: 
Peeling chestnuts is not difficult but time consuming.  However, I highly recommend it for that distinct taste of great fall soup.  The celery root soup could easily have been made vegetarian, I would even be interested to see how it did as a vegan dish with pistachio cream substituted for the half and half.  

If a caramel sauce consists of water, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice... you have been warned. 

The Party in Numbers:
Parties Completed: 9
Weeks before deadline: 43
Justified Purchases: zero!  
Bottles of Wine consumed: 3ish

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