Monday, January 4, 2010

Drama, She Wrote

I’m beginning to think of myself as the Angela Lansbury of dinner parties.  Exactly one week after my Christmas Eve power outage, I prepared to throw a huge party with my new business partner Food Intolerance. Three days into prep work with the house beautifully decorated, I received the news; two out of three toilets were inoperable.  One emergency call to the plumber and a rather large bill later, the toilets were still inoperable and guests were due to arrive in 60 minutes.  With hopes that all 75 guests relieved themselves before the party, signs were made and issue number two arose: breaker box issues.  I don’t know what made the lights go out, nor am I certain how the issue was resolved, but I do know that it never affected the kitchen, and that an hour into the party, all breakers were a go and the outside tent was beautifully illuminated. 

The most popular dish of the evening seemed to be the shrimp cocktail, considering its short life span at the buffet table.  A close second were the turkey quesadillas which was a bit of a surprise considering the flavor profile.  It seems nothing suits smoked turkey breast better than a little apricot preserves and brie cheese; I look forward to adding this to my post-Thanksgiving meals next year.  Third place would be the deviled eggs, proving that classics still have their place.  All other dishes were munched with similar vigor.  Looking back, the only menu change I would make is an additional 5 pounds of shrimp.  

Once 2010 arrived, the cup of soup with collard greens was a welcome addition.  Not only did this warm guests who were chilly from the midnight air, it brought everyone a piece of southern tradition and who doesn’t love nostalgia?   This particular soup did not work so well as a shooter; the large collard greens sticking to the sides of the cup and acting more as a colander, however Guests found a way to sip every last drop.  (This includes the use of carrot sticks as a shovel.) It seems we will all enjoy some good luck and a few heated bedroom scenes during the new year.  

So... After nearly 20 pounds of flour, 12 pounds of sugar and at least 11 pounds of butter, December 2009 and all associated holidays has come to an end.  What to look forward to?  A new year, a new venture, and more good food and wine.  Sounds like a great year. 

Cooking Notes:
Herbs: Dill appears to be my new best friend.  It saved my aioli sauce in Party #10, and it saved the onion dip for this party.  Faced with an incredibly strong tasting onion dip, a heavy hand of dill lightened the flavor nicely.  
Thank goodness for MRI’s: I owe a huge thank you to the good people of Memorial MRI center.  When my deviled egg filling turned out too salty, I added extra egg yolks, and more still needed something.  A few dashes of pepper sauce provided by Memorial MRI Center did the trick.  It appears you should never dispose of gift basket contents.  
Quesadillas: I fired half of the quesadillas and let the bowl run low before firing the second half.  Since these are best eaten warm, I think this added to the quality of the overall dish. 
Cookies: The chocolate chip cookies were placed in individual CD sleeves; an easy way to make an outstanding presentation.  Considering the many other desserts offered, I was surprised with the cookie popularity.  Next time you have to make a dessert for a friend’s party consider whipping up a batch.

The Party in Numbers
Parties Completed: 19
Weeks Before Deadline: 35
Bottles of Wine Consumed: Enough to keep 75 people happy! 
Justified Purchases: Many Starbucks Lattes
Wish List: a long nap

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