Sunday, December 5, 2010
A great time was had. A wonderful time. And after many hours of shopping, prepping, chopping, and running my hands under a lot of cold water (peeling and variously chopping 7 heads of garlic = burn your fingers off), everything came out great. The sauce in the beef bourguinon didn't quite thicken up to the consistency that I normally like, but that didn't seem to matter (everyone was diving into the mole' anyway, LOL).
A lot of these pics were by either John or Lauren, who took turns playing with his camera, LOL.
Spicy lamb meatballs with a mint garlic yogurt dipping sauce. These got devoured
Here's The tomato basil bruschetta topped with fresh mozzarella and then browned with my trusty torch. :-)
Everybody seemed to be having a great time coloring, mingling, and D-R-I-N-K-I-N-G (OOHHH how the wine FLOWED!) as I prepared dinner. :-)
Kathy :-) She's so adorable :-)
Christie, whose house this took place in, and her REALLY awesome boyfriend Adam. He reminds me of a 1950's heart throb you'd see in an old movie wearing a letter jacket. And I mean that in the best way possible.
Me with Batty :-)
Dinner simmering on the stove :-)
The lovely and wonderful Miss Lauren. :-)
Mr. Kingtycoon socializing with Christie and Adam :-)
Jeff looking rather intense as Bridget talks to him, LOL. :-)
Denise laughing :-) She has such a great smile :-)
It makes everyone else smile, too :-)
And dinner is still going :-)
I had a little scenario with melted tongs...
And before we knew it, it was time for dessert. Here's Lauren injecting the cupcakes with peanut butter cream cheese ;-)
NOOO LAUREN!!! YOU ARE NOT A CUPCAKE!!!!
Chocolate ganache topping
This photo is courtesy of Bridget Callahan, who got the ONLY picture of the cupcakes after I had put the ganache on...
And after the majority of my guests had left for the night, only the veteran party animals remained for the drunken after-dinner festivities - such as dancing in the kitchen during clean-up to the likes of Boyz 2 Men and Bel Biv DeVoe :-)
My girls and me singing "Motown Philly" into pool cues :-) ("Mo-town Phi-lly back a-gain!!....." ...it was like 6th grade all over again ;-D)
After cleanup partying, we drunk-caravaned it over to karaoke, where THIS woman was SERIOUS....she even had GLOVES.
Batty and I ended up singing with this guy. This guy fucking wins...
Yes, a good night was had by all. :-)
A huge, warm thank you to all of you that shared this evening with me, brought me gifts of wine and flowers (Lisa!), and helped me when I needed a few more hands. :-)
A very special thank you to Christie for allowing me free reign of your house and your kitchen, and to Lauren, Adam, and my wonderful John for helping me in the cleanup. :-)
Saturday, December 4, 2010
That weekend was dedicated to Dinner Party of Doom madness. THE dinner party, which I've been painstakingly planning for two months. Two months of shopping, contemplating, thinking out and strategizing everything from the appetizers to the guest list. My VERY. FIRST. dinner party.
My lovely boyfriend, John, has been so supportive in my anxieties as well.
"What if everyone hates my food?"
"What if no one shows up?"
"What if we get eaten by bears?"
Friday night, with the help of my wonderful, awesome boyfriend was spent chopping, making the bread dough for the dinner rolls, the cookie dough for dessert, the tomato puree sauce for the entree, and toasting and candying the walnuts for the rice and the dessert. We finally crashed at 2am, only to be up at 10am Saturday morning for more chopping, kneading, and prepping.
We got to Christie's house, and after 20 minutes of retrieving the kitten that bolted out of her door as we were walking in I started to set up.
And it finally happened.
And everyone had a great time.
And nothing crazy/detrimental/stupid happened.
And while the food had some glitches that only I seemed to notice, everyone loved what I made.
Then I could exhale.
There was dancing to Motown greats and the familiar Industrial/EBM, coloring Bible stories and bad NASCAR coloring books, pool-playing in the billiards room and TONS of laughter (of course, knowing this group ;-D). The kitten of the house - that would be Mr. Henry - was a hit as well, and Batty had a lovely time ballroom dancing with him. Lori showed up with 2 very pretty dressed for me and a pair of KILLER stripper shoes that I can't wait to wear. Many people brought wine, and 90% of it was consumed in the duration of the party. Batty was nice and toasty and gave me sloppy Batty love, LMAO. Fabulous Johnny showed up after the meal, wine bottle in hand, and had a BALL dancing with Dorian, hahaha! I was especially glad Mr. Fabulous showed, because it's rare that I ever really get to see him.
He liked John, too. He gave him his trademark glance-over, patted him on the shoulder approvingly and declared, "I LIKE this one! He's nice and sturdy!" Hahahaha!! I simply adore him :-)
Everyone was so wonderful and helpful as well. Lori helped me slice the figs so I could stuff them, a few people came over to the five pots I had going on the stove and stirred them, Dennis ran out for cilantro when I discovered that the bunch I had bought had gone bad, Kelly and Carrie ran and got the dried cranberries when I discovered that I had forgotten them at home in my whirlwind chaos, Mindy helped me assemble dessert...and Lauren...OMG they were amazing. They were BUSTING. THEIR. ASSES cleaning up after everyone ate. I offered to help, and both of them were like "You cooked! You shouldn't have to clean as well!!" (I did anyway after you guys left, though, even eventually figured out how to work the dishwasher, LOL. Just didn't know where to put the garbage).
And even though I had forgotten to add the salt and butter to the boiling rice, and the sauce didn't thicken because I overcompensated the chicken stock ratio to the puree, and the ginger sugar cookies made one BIG spread on the cookie sheet because they had sat in the kitchen and warmed up for too long.....EVERYONE. LOVED. MY. FOOD. Or at least said they did. Batty and Dennis offered to bribe me to get invited to the next one, so I guess it did turn out pretty well.
As my lovely, wonderful guests filtered out the door, Lori, Johnny, Dorian, and I talked in the kitchen while cleaning up as John and Andrew drunk-Facebook-messaged each other in the living room. After the last guest, Fabulous Johnny, left, I poured myself a bottle of wine, cuddled up to John on the couch, and just laid there in my happiness and exhaustion for awhile until we could muster the energy to pack up.
A very special "Thank You!!!" to Christie for allowing me to host this party in your beautiful home and trusting me to your kitchen with my guests, to Lauren for being such a rock for me in my chaos, to the lovely Miss Lauren for busting your friggin' ass cleaning up, to Batty for being THE FIRST PERSON to EVER give me flowers!!!!!, to John for being as wonderful and helpful as he was during this whole thing, and of course to everyone that came, brought gifts of wine and laughter, and for making this a truly wonderful night. :-)
I love you, Man. :-)
For now, this was The Menu:
Stuffed figs with feta cheese, candied pecans, and red pepper flakes and drizzeled in honey
Chicken Takari (chicken in a tomato-based curry and yogurt sauce) with zucchini, onions, cilantro, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and cauliflower
(Vegetarian version replaces chicken with tofu)
Served with coconut rice tossed in cilantro, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts and dinner rolls made from a recipe in my great-grandmother's cookbook.
A scoop of vanilla ice cream served over a warm ginger sugar cookie(recipe also from my great-grandmother's cookbook) and topped with an espresso-vanilla bean glaze and candied walnuts.
Current Mood: [mood icon] happy
Current Music: "A Little Help From My Friends" - Joe Cocker version (because the Beatles' version SUCKS!)
Thankfully, though, I have not remotely been neglecting my cooking, which is what prodded me to pick this blog back up and give it another go.
So what have I been up to on this year-and-a-half hiatus? Well, recently, I met up with my friend Rachel and her friend Mike, who runs this company called "Emerging Chefs" and with Rachel's suggestion was interested in having me come on board for an "Iron Chef"-ish event in March. Of course, I'm honored and excited to have been selected to be one of four "contestants". This will be my largest "pro" cooking gig yet, and I'm very much looking forward to working with everyone.
Also, around this time last year I had my very first Dinner Party of DOOOM, which has since become a series of events - the sixth one TBA after the holidays. These have served me well to not only get my name out there as a chef, but also each party has cultivated new and amazing friendships.
As this is in fact a FOOD blog, I will spend the next few entries with the recaps of each Dinner Party of Doom (DoD). A lot of the content will be taken from my "notes" and LJ entries, just so I can get this blog caught up with me.
And just for your patience and time? My Garlic Asiago sauce recipe, which is an oldie-but-goodie plucked from my own "recipe box".
Garlic Asiago Sauce
1 1/2 cup of Asiago Cheese
1 cup half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 heads of garlic, peeled and minced
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
Coat the bottom of a small saucepan with the olive oil and about 3 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and evenly distribute, then whisk in the heavy cream. Let cook for about 5-7 minutes and then stir in the Asiago cheese until it's completely melted into the sauce. Season with salt and stir frequently until sauce is thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Don't worry about its thickness too much, it will thicken within about 10 minutes of cooling.