Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let your heart be light...

It actually happened....a beautiful snow storm hit Houston Friday morning!  After bundling up in my winter gear, I hit the grocery stores for all of my baking party supplies. 

I had not been lead astray by Food and Wine magazine until this weekend.  An article on holiday cooking specifically states that one can save time prepping smoked turkey lentil soup by purchasing a smoked turkey wing at the local Whole Foods.... Whole Foods did not have a turkey wing.  They did have samples of a wonderful hot cider.  I now own 2 gallons.  So, three grocery stores and a large grocery bill later I was back at home with bags of the finest extracts, colored sugars, and cocoas, plus a roasted turkey breast in place of a smoked wing.   Prep went well until I was shot with a syringe of liquid smoke when my lovely husband attempted to help.  He does always mean well.   A few hours later the house was filled with the smell of raspberry crumb cake in oven and soup bubbling on the stove.  Combine these smells with the sound of Christmas carols and the kids laughter as they attempted a snowball fight with dad and the recipe for a great evening was well under way.  

Friends loved the spiked coffee and crumb cake in place of the traditional cocktail hour, and champagne was popped as we dove into various projects of cranberry orange muffins, and organic peanut butter cookies.  With periodic breaks taken for some cheese and crackers or a bowl of soup, the evening progressed beautifully and actually ended with three Christmas gifts boxed and ready for delivery.

I loved this spin on the dinner party.  With the demands of the holidays I have so often fallen into a 'do it and get it over with' mentality.  Bringing in friends to share the commitments added an element of enjoyment that I have not had in years prior.  If you plan to bake any gifts this season I hope you host this party.  The work gets done, and you're celebrating.  You can't ask for much more. 

Cooking Notes: The turkey breast worked well in the large pot of soup.  Having not made it with a smoked wing, I can't say whether or not it was as good or better.  I can say that the leftover meat offered a great salad topping Saturday afternoon.

The Party in Numbers:
Parties Completed: 14
Weeks before deadline: 39
Justified Purchases: a lot of sugar, vanilla, flour and butter
Bottles of Wine Consumed: 1
Pots of "Coffee": 2

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