The party was last night, and I’m up and at the computer at 7:23 on a Sunday, because John & Megan said they want to leave to go back to Chicago at 8:00, and they’re sleeping in Al’s/Kaylah’s/Megan’s/the AFS student’s room, which is right off the kitchen, and I don’t want to interrupt their last few minutes of sleep by doing what John calls clonking – putting dishes away, clattering pans.
I think I’ll take the cooler down the basement and empty out the beer and melted ice.
OK, kids are off – so here’s what we ate at the party (written up the following Tuesday, on the bus to Chicago):
- Leek tart: a ready-made; put together right after Thanksgiving with the leek confit I’d put out as a pre-turkey dinner appetizer. Baked and cooled, cut into bite-size squares, laid out on a baking sheet on parchment, and frozen. All I had to do was pop them in the oven.
- Bacon dates: I’d made a small tray of them also for Thanksgiving, that we didn’t eat, also frozen. I planned to make a few more, and wind up with a total of about 50 dates. I’m used to a pound of bacon being about 18 strips, and thought 36 additional dates would be just the right amount. Somehow the pound of I had was 23 strips, and I think I made about 40 additional dates. Before I cooked all of them, I saved out about 2 dozen in a foil pan,and gave them to Megan for their New Year’s soirée – and that turned out to be just the right number – no leftovers.
- Overnight slow roasted pork: one of the 3#-ish roasts from the pig Waisman’s raised, shredded and served with little rolls and cornichons – I shoulda made cole slaw, but it was good without it.
- Turkey salad puffs: these were a great use of puff pastry, but I made way too much turkey salad, with dill mustard and mayonnaise and celery and pecans. It was the leftover meat frozen since Thanksgiving, and I should have used about half of it instead of all of it.
- Brie-Cranberry Bites: another puff pastry thing – a cube of Brie and a dab of cranberry sauce on a square of pastry stuffed in to a mini muffin tin. Made 46; 6 left. I had two for breakfast on Tuesday. Puff pastry doesn’t do well in the microwave, so I set them on top of one of the toaster slots and toasted twice – worked perfectly
- Beer steamed shrimp: Two 2-pound bags of frozen tail-on shrimp boiled in PBR and rosemary and lemons (using up my skinless lemons collection, developed since I’d grated off the zest to go in a cookie). One of the later food items served at the party, but still all eaten except for 12 shrimp. I had half of them for dinner with cocktail sauce on Monday.
- Pepperonata and zucchini butter with goat cheese: Spread in a small baking dish, log of goat cheese nested in, drizzled with olive oil, and baked Made last summer when I was getting CSA boxes, and and frozen till now. Red & green & white.
- Cafe Flora sweet potato and parsley pumpkin seed pesto quesadillas: Cafe Flora makes this a sandwich; I prefer the quesadillas. With pepper jack.
- Cranberry meatballs: 3 packs of Costco organic beef, that are each almost 1 1/2 pounds.
- Corn & black bean salsa with corn chips.
- Kosher dogs in blankets: I had about 60. I made a double batch of the Deborah Madison yeasted tart dough with butter that I like for wrapping the dogs, and froze almost half of it. So I guess I should’ve made a single batch of the dough. Although, I split off a couple dozen dogs for Megan, but what remained disappeared so fast, probably should have made more.
- Pepperoni roll: Note to self, about a half a pound of sandwich pepperoni sliced thin at the supermarket deli was just the right amount for 2 rolls.
- Deviled eggs: I boiled 27 eggs.
- Pimento cheese toasts: I got out an old Gourmet (January 2008) because it had a lovely picture of Edna Lewis/Scott Peacock’s biscuits on the cover, for a Southern inspired New Year’s brunch. I thought I might cook some of the ham from the pig and make biscuits to go with, but I made the shoulder roast instead. Anyhow the pimento cheese toasts caught my eye – I figured I could make the toasts, but of I ran out of time, I’d just put the pimento cheese out in a little dish and people could spread it bread themselves. I’ve been eating the (small) amount left on Ritzs.
- Hummus: Made from dried beans, drizzled with garlic oil, sprinkled with Aleppo pepper. I forgot to put out the thin pretzels to go with – but people managed to eat almost all of it on crackers and vegetables, just enough left for Monday lunch for me
- Spicy peanut dip & veggies: I totally forgot to cut up the vegetables until like 4:00 before the 5:30 party, but Megan stepped in and did it. She cut the carrot and radish sticks thinner than I would have, but I realized when I ate some that her method made for a generous dip to vegetable ratio. I only did the broccoli since I wanted to blanch it and Terese did the cauliflower. I had some coconut peanut butter, bought on a whim at the co-op, that was NOT good on sandwiches, but I thought it’d be good in peanut sauce, and it was very good in the dip.
- Salami and cheeses and crackers
- Chex mix and nuts and clementines
- Oh, and 2 $10 hunks of Costco smoked salmon that I put out with a loaf of my good homemade black bread that I had in the freezer and butter in the fancy butter dish Al & Emma gave me for my birthday. It was consumed in record time, even for smoked fish.
And of course, 4 big platters and a couple small, of cookies. Of which I did not take a single picture.
I got a roll of liverwurst with the pig, and I was going to make Wrinkle in Time sandwiches – liverwurst & cream cheese – but I never got around to it. And I made a batch of pickled beets and eggs, thinking I’d put them out when the deviled eggs were gone – but didn’t do that either. I took them to the Waisman’s latke party the next day though. I cut the eggs open to show the yolks and the beets were large irregular chunks – made a beautiful plate.
I risked a Martha – fruitcake squares, a dense cake with almond paste and dried fruit, brushed with kirsch, and gazed with a chocolate fondant. I liked the cake, but I found so many “Martha’s” – problems – with the fondant. You were supposed to mix cocoa, corn syrup, a little water, and a lot of powdered sugar, heat it, and then add chopped chocolate. I didn’t think the chocolate would melt, added to that thick a mixture, so I melted it first, before adding it. You were supposed to hold each little cake square on a fork, and spoon the coating over – that didn’t work nearly as well as sticking a cake square on a skewer and simply dipping it. Martha cheerily says, “add warm water if the fondant gets too hard” – I had to keep the pot on low heat on the stove the whole time. A water bath would probably work, too. The fondant was way too sweet, even so. I looked around for other chocolate fondant recipes (somewhat hampered by the fact that in the UK, evidently chocolate fondant is a puddling; want we’d call molten chocolate cake), and Martha’s is pretty standard. I didn’t find any recipes with less powdered sugar, but did find some with more water. So I think it’s a recipe to continue to tinker with, for next year. I’ll bet I could just coat the squares with plain melted chocolate, no powdered sugar mixed in at all.
I never made Springerle or meringues or rolled gingerbread or Moravian ginger thins this year. I made a batch of dough for spice thins but I let it sit too long. I rolled out a small amount and cut it with my new reindeer cutter but once baked the cookies were hard instead of crisp. The baking soda had gone kaput. I made some of the leftover nukhorn dough into Lora Brody ruggelach, filled with apricot jam and yellow raisins and walnuts. Two disks of dough made 4 dozen and I still have 3 more. Six dozen. I’m thinking about replacing the raisons with mini chocolate chips for chocolate ruggelach, but it means another 6 dozen cookies. More grist to the process of mentally weighing the cookies I have left and debating whether I should make more of anything.
The vestibule was still pretty full after the party. The cookie fairy has been going her rounds. Sunday she took a box to the ER where they straightened out my crooked finger and Monday I packed lots of Tupperware’s for her to deliver to friends and family who couldn’t come to the party. Everything is in the fridge now, except for baby fruitcakes and biscotti.