Monday, December 29, 2008

Notes On A Party

Saturday night at chez nous saw several scenes of conviviality and cheer at our annual Hanukah bash, but now I am experiencing a gentle bout of post-party depression. You know, the feelings of let-down and loss that directly follow a fete for which you've spent hours, days, and weeks in detailed preparation. It's those zillion little details that make a party feel like like a grand old time. The varied appetizer and hors d'oeuvre menu that I "conceived" went through many edits and modifications, but I stuck to my golden rule of cocktail party fare: "thou shalt forsake all cutlery". The party's theme was "winterrific", and Mother Nature graciously complied by dumping 6-8 inches of snow on us all a few days prior. The drinks menu were suitably girlicious, all served up in to-be-expected martini glasses, even the gents got into the mood and sipped the Pink Flamingo's and Winterbreezes.
So I planned, and coordinated, brainstormed, deliberated, imagined and then actualized. I poured, stirred, measured, chopped, sauteed, baked, cooked. I have the cuts and the burns that will serve as Hanukah Party '08 souvenirs, as well as a pound of fake snow, a dozen tree branches spray painted white, and a bucket full of dreidels. And then it was the party. In my version of 1960's Party Hostess, I wore a tres mod LBD and black go-go boots, I spun into a controlled frenzy of plating, reheating, and arranging. The nibbles and bits came out in waves throughout the evening, it was a success on a purely logistical level. And then it was over. And I was overwhelmed by the amount of disarray that was left after a 4 hour party, we're still trying to set it straight after 2 days! It all seems just a little anti-climactic. So here I am, trying to figure out if it's all worth it. I think it is, because it makes the Holiday season special and exciting. It gives people something to look forward to. And, it's an opportunity to try out a bunch of new and interesting recipes and then foist them onto my nearest and dearest, who for these few days seem to have abandoned all their healthful regimes and skinny schemes.

Party Menu:
Pizza Dip- well recieved slow cooker hot dip.
Cheddar-Cranberry Cheeseball - unnecessary, will not repeat.
Goat Cheese Terrine: my party standard, always deccimated by party's end.
Pomodori al Forno: first introduced to the book club in Sept., appreciated both occasions- none left both times.
Asiago Cheese Dip- recieved several enthusiastic endorsements for this crock pot hot dip, that had like a dozen complicated ingredients (reconstituted mushrooms etc.)
Horseradish Gouda Dip: I love horseradish so I decided to include this, but it was unnecessary though moderately consumed.
German Dip: It had me at the caraway seeds.
Baked Brie with marmalade and pecans- always a winner.

Cheese Straws: a standard that can be frozen for months before or after.
Honey Mustard-Gruyere Palmiers: I find these addictive.
Gougeres: An homage to my Francophilism

Tarts/hors d'oeuvres
Balsamic Shallot & Goat Cheese: Y.U.M. I will definitely do this again. My favorite dish of the night.
Tomato Gruyere: ehhh...OK, nothing to cry over.
Savory Mushroom & Goat Cheese: Gone in like 20 minutes
Tomato Onion Tart: More of a quiche and a bit of a yawn.
Artichoke, Roasted Pepper, Goat Cheese Pizza Galette: If it's pizza it's good.
Pear & Blue Cheese Tart: Interesting and pretty well recieved among the more adventurous.
Onion Bhajees: I made two batches of this fried Indian savory treat...sooo good, I only managed to snag one, before they were gone. Definitely a repeat.

Pecan Praline Fondue: Decadent
Lemon Meringue Fondue: delicious with cheesecake bites or mini meringues.
Dark Chocolate Chunk Cookies: a scrumptious chocolate cookie for grown-ups
Peanut BUtter Cup Chunk Bars: what could be bad?
Coconut Chocolate Chunk Blondies: I have a lot of these leftover.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Feeding The Junkster

Do you ever throw caution to the wind and simply say "Screw it!" to healthful and sensible eating? Do you ever give in to the greedy little junkster that resides hungrily inside you, and order the hot fudge sundae with extra hot fudge? The Pizza with extra cheese, the burger with the works. I do, especially at this time of the year. Between marathon chocolate-making and the usual baking and then my blowout Hanukah bash where I give myself permission to make every over-the-top-ridiculously-extravagant recipe that has captured my fancy during the year, moderation is not even in my vocabulary.
Dinner tonight had the potential for being healthy and sensible, I started out with 2 lbs. of fresh sole. But as I was pondering my sole, I was derailed by the greedy little junkster and decided that I would crush a bag of potato chips (reduced fat in my defense) and melt a little butter and make "fish in chips".

Fish in Chips
Crush 2 c. potato chips in food processor to preferred consistency, add 1 tsp. garlic powder- mix. Melt 2-3 tbsp. butter/marg. Coat 4-6 fish fillets in melted butter, cover in crushed chip mixture. Place in oven at 375F, and bake until fish cooked through and the chips are slightly golden.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

7 Random Facts

A few weeks ago I was tagged by Lisa at, and like everyone else on the planet at this time of year I've been so flat out busy, it's taken me until now to respond. Hmmmm let's see 7 random things about me....

1. Last night I had the strangest dream, oh boy.... It involved my 3rd grade teacher the Chrysler Building and a whole lotta tomatoes????
2. If I could only eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would probably be pizza- topped to the hilt with all the good stuff
3. I have an irrational aversion to raisins
4. If I could only rescue 1 item from my house in the case of a fire (excluding people of course) it would have to be my band new kick-ass Frye boots
5. If I could invite 3 famous dead people to my dinner table they would be: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Frank Sinatra
6. I cannot watch "It's a Wonderful Life" without matter how many times I've seen it- the part where the waterworks begins is when he opens the book Clarence gives him and it says "No man is a failure so long as he has friends..." , and then when Harry toasts George by saying " To George Bailey, the richest man in Bedford Falls..." I'm a goner- a complete blubbering sentimental mess.
7. The last thing I bought was pretzel rods and lots of them....1200 to be exact (I covered them in chocolate and other goodies for a gift basket order).