I planned Party #48 to be an easy prep day; the grilling was delegated to my husband and the crisp and bread were completed in the early morning. This should have left several hours dedicated to exercise or perhaps a dip in the pool. After completing the gorgeous crisp, and the new bread recipe spiked with both thyme (not rosemary) and freshly roasted garlic, I began wiping down the counters. Enter downward spiral.
Five more parties.
Ever make a statement and instantly you’re hit with both joy and anxiety? In less than one month this project will be complete. And, dare I say, what then? This question danced through my mind like a court jester. Soon the came the anxiety, then the tears, and the inevitable decision to skip the gym. Around 4:00 with the table dressed, the meal prepared, and the house looking presentable, I declared an early cocktail hour and enjoyed a drink with my husband as he talked me out of my hysteria.
About an hour before my scheduled guest’s arrival, the prepped potatoes were placed into the oven, and the freshly baked bread (nothing short of fantastic) presented on a board with a variety of dipping oils. When the Level Headed One and the Hungry Man arrived with both champagne and a cab, we began the ritual of toasts and catch up. It seems that I have finally learned the art to pacing a party, within about 30 minutes the meal was completed, and we were digging into our rib eyes or sirloins with a side of potatoes. Though I was a bit concerned of the flavor profile of mustard roasted potatoes, being made with whole grain mustard gave this side dish amazing seasonings, without an overwhelming flavor. Perfect with a steak! If you have ever attempted ratatouille and had my experience; an unappetizing glop of vegetable stew, I recommend moving it to the grill. It is amazing what olive oil and salt and pepper can do for grilled vegetables sprinkled with fresh basil. This dish had enough beauty for a dinner party, and the right amount of ease to add along side your midweek chicken breasts.
With my Guests happy and thankfully well-fed, we moved onto dessert. Courtesy of the Food Network magazine which offered a plethora of summer crisp recipes, this was both light and homey made even better with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m telling you, summer fruit desserts; there is nothing like them.
The only disappointment of the night was having to cut it short; with all four of us tending to the real life commitments of kids returning from summer camp, a trip to Dallas, or a derivatives exam it seemed best to act like the responsible adults we all hope to have become. Was my anxiety cured at the close of the night? Did somehow steak and potatoes smoother all doubts and fears? No, but how nice to put all of that aside for a few hours and enjoy a good meal, good friends, and a glass of wine.
Thyme and Garlic Bread: This was bakery quality bread, and oh so easy. The secret? Ratio by Michael Ruhlman. Breaking down the ratio of water, fat and flour for everything from bread to pasta, this book makes baking wonderfully easy. I made the recipe for basic bread, and added fresh thyme and roasted garlic cloves to the dough. The result was a masterpiece, and might I add a very easy appetizer!
Ratatouille: I may never try a traditional ratatouille again considering, however if you insist on trying this dish, I recommend referencing Melissa D’Arabia on the Food Network.
The Party In Numbers:
Parties Completed: 48
Weeks Before Deadline: 3.5
Bottles Consumed: 2
Justified Purchases: zero!