Sunday, June 13, 2010

Passing the Baton

Party #40 and #41 were interesting events.... cloth napkins were replaced with helium balloons, wine glasses were replaced with cream sodas, and the bulk of the guests were too young rather than too impaired to drive. 
Prep for this party began late in the afternoon with the vegetable fritto.  For the record, I usually offer a Food Inc.-like monologue when someone recommends fried vegetables for ‘kids who won’t eat anything healthy.’  However, as I served a platter piled high with green beans and broccoli next to a bowl of potato chips, I watched with indescribable pride as the vegetables were devoured, and the chips ignored.... Does it really matter that they were battered and fried? 
Soon, our veggie lovers were presented with fresh pizza dough and a variety of toppings for their choosing.  While their mini masterpieces warmed in the oven, I prepared one for the adults and found a new love: Delallo’s Hot Pepper Garlic Pasta Sauce.  With its intense heat, this was a delicious addition to our gourmet option and an instant pantry staple. With pizzas finished, and the slip and slide running, I turned to our dessert; the ever so lovely donut cake.  With a Ghiradelli chocolate glaze, this cake was cute enough to please an eleven year old, and delicious enough to be eaten in its entirety.  Add to this, the recipe on the box is embarrassingly easy and you have pantry staple #2. 
With the cake cut, presents opened, and dishes washed it was time to call it a night.  Brunch prep was a mere seven hours away.  
With my coffee in hand, and an apron over my PJ’s, I threw together the scones, muffins and virgin mary drinks, changed clothes, and had a half-set table before our first guest arrived.   While the frittata finished in the oven, little guests congregated in the dining room for a formal meal while the adults stood round the breakfast bar comparing calendars and scheduling play dates over baked goods and coffee. I’m not sure which brunch dish was the star, however I am certain that two dozen scones and muffins, as well as a squash and cheese frittata went into the dining room, and three lone muffins were the only thing that came back. I will venture a guess and say our breakfast as a whole was well-appreciated.  
There is a time in every party when I either admit that I’ve done well, or convince myself that a poor party will make for a good post.  As I looked out my kitchen window Friday night and saw my oldest child sitting at the head of the table, sharing a meal with her friends while she laughed and cheered with a glass of Sprite, I called the night, and this entire project, a success. Not only have my husband and I enjoyed countless evenings around the table with our friends, we have apparently taught our children to do the same.   
Cooking Notes:
Fritto Misto:  Extra vegetables in the fridge? Prepare an egg wash, some seasoned flour and fry ‘em up!  You will have an appetizer for the entire family, or an indulgent side dish.  
Donut Cake Pan: This pan was $20 at Williams Sonoma; how much are you paying for those horrible grocery store cakes?  
Virgin Mary’s: If you have never made Bloody Mary Mix from scratch, you are missing out; the taste is incomparable to the bottled variety.  However, the eleven year old palates were not impressed.  The entire pitcher is still sitting in the fridge.  
The Party In Numbers:
Parties Completed: 41
Weeks Before Deadline: 12
Bottles of Wine Consumed: 1 (adults only!)
Justified Purchases: donut cake pan, 2 litter bottle of Sprite

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