Saturday, January 30, 2010

...that tonight's gonna be a good night...

Mix a ballroom dancing champ, with our local venison distributor, stir in Steve Martin circa Father of the Bride, and a pinch of air-boot dancing and you have the recipe for fabulous. 
Judging by the prep, the day seemed nothing of the sort....feta sauce was made with bleu cheese, our gluten-free Parmesan crackers were mere breadcrumbs, and the Tuscan Cheese Dessert could rival Christmas Fruitcake. But, just as music recovered from disco, our food recovered from botched prep. When the 7 o’clock hour arrived, Food Intolerance and I had shared some good champagne, a few tears, and had a damn good buffet.  
As guests arrived sporting the best of seventies garb: Farrah Fawcett hair, white go-go boots, marabou feathers, even a ruffled tuxedo, we made short life of the Croque Monsieurs.  The venison sausage was popular, especially when guests learned that the Hunter and Gatherer were among us in polyester.  And, though the broccoli and blue cheese soup underwent a new recipe, cup after cup was sipped and enjoyed.  As the buffet dwindled, and dessert time arrived, Food Intolerance and I moved into dessert remedy mode; confectioner’s sugar, heavy cream and a few fresh blueberries and we had transformed the awful Tuscan dessert into one that people ate up and returned for seconds. Time to quit while we were ahead, it was time to change locations.  
With afro wigs, and an impossibly long caravan, the group meandered through Houston’s inner loop and amazingly arrived in the Houstonian lobby at the same time.  After posing for a group photo we were off for a choreographed number to Proud Mary, a ladies anthem to Hot Stuff, and a small run in with what I think was a transvestite.  After a brief discussion about ‘I Gotta Feeling’, and a party foul involving a Dirty Dancing move and spilt beer, Padma, Frankie Funtimes, the Brits, and yours truly with hubby had to call it a night.  
So, after a day of prep, and a night of dancing my feet were sore for a week; it seems the old dancing queen just ain’t what she used to be.  Few things are certain: jumping in $60 shoes or $400 shoes is a bad idea, taking your shoes off in public is tacky, and bunko is boring. Luckily, good friends, bad fashions and cheesy music is the same fun at 32 as it was at 20.  
Cooking Notes:
Feta/Bleu Cheese: After preparing the feta sauce with bleu cheese, I learned that not only should I stop telling intricate stories while cooking, but that recipe development can happen anywhere.  Rather than adding heavy cream and bleu cheese to the soup, I added the bleu cheese and sour cream sauce.  The result?  A rich and creamy soup that people enjoyed cup after cup.  
Gluten Free Crackers: Attempting a gluten free baked good?  Read your labels.  Apparently it is more complicated than merely sub-ing GF flour for the traditional stuff.  It involves fractions and xantham gum. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  
Croque Monsieur: These are unbelievably popular and not too difficult.  Add them to your Superbowl Party for a gourmet twist on the expected Ham and Cheese. A recipe from my girl Ina: 
Know your friends: Check in with your guest list before you serve a menu centered on cheese... A few people could have worn the name Food Intolerance with pride this evening.  And, who wants Listeriosis on their conscience? 
The Party in Numbers:
Parties Completed: 21
Weeks Before Deadline: 31
Bottles Consumed: 9
Justified Purchases: 8 ramekins

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