Monday, September 15, 2008

Last Night's Dinner: Engagement Party Recap

As previously mentioned, this weekend we threw an engagement party for Cooper's sister, Missy, and her fiance, Seth. I'm happy to report that everything went smoothly and we all had a great time.

Friday afternoon and evening's solid wall of rain was a little discouraging, but the weather cleared up a bit on Saturday for the party itself. It was hot and it was humid enough that my stick-straight hair was frizzy, but at least it wasn't pouring.

As per usual, I spent most of the week shopping and cooking, then mildly freaking out about possibly not getting everything finished in time. Also as per usual, everything was finished in time and turned out successfully.

Instead of making an actual meal, I put together a bunch of hors d'oeuvres so everybody could graze all night. I think that was a good choice, too, because even though we had tons of food left over, everyone really did eat all night, and there wasn't ever that awkward part of a party when people try to find seats and balance plates on their laps. Instead, it was nearly all easy to eat with one hand.

The menu:
- Cheese, crackers, nuts, olives, and a smoked salmon spread and smoked fish roulade from Neopol

- Fig confit with blue cheese and proscuitto - I've been making a lot of the confit lately. Because we have so. many. figs.

- Drunken watermelon pops - I made these a few weeks ago, too. They are so simple and absolutely delicious.

- Grilled chicken satay - Literally, when I do this I use nothing but the Thai Kitchen peanut sauce. It works as a marinade and dipping sauce. So easy, so good.

- Tomato/basil/mozarella skewers - Just like they sound.

- Asparagus bites wrapped in proscuitto and phyllo - It was my first time making these and, while they tasted good, they were a bit dry and there were a lot left over (that could have to do with the placement, too). Also, phyllo is such a pain. I don't know that I'll make them again.

- Basil cups with chevre, tomato and pine nuts - Standard Pollard house vegetarian app. Always good, especially right now, since they're so in season.

- Potato chips with goat cheese, bacon and red pepper jelly (I can't find the recipe online but I know it was in the F&W November 2007 issue) - Another Pollard go-to. These taste amazing, but unless you make them at the very last minute, they get soggy. But really, they are delicious and always a hit.

- Black mission figs stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon - First time making it and WOW it was good. The recipe calls for dates, which would also be great, but TJ's was out of them. Also, instead of sauteeing, as the recipe suggests, I roasted the wrapped dates in the oven. Easier and cleaner for a party. Great feedback on this and I will definitely make it again.

- Triple tomato penne - I was worried about not having enough meatless dishes, so I threw this one in there. I hadn't made it before and it was very good, but didn't hold up that well in small, individual dishes. It's really best hot.

- London broil - We always have London broil, grilled by Cooper and served with toasted baguette rounds and horseradish sauce. In fact, I can't think of a single party we've had without London broil. But it always delivers. In this case, it delivered the stress (I discovered on Saturday afternoon that the LBs I bought at BJ's - two days before - had gone bad) but also the benefit (Cooper picked up a couple at Ceriello, and they were a million times better than anything BJ's has to offer).

Plus, Cooper's mom's friend Nancy brought over a delicious hot mushroom dip that I could've eaten all of.

Preparing for a party like this - everything from the earliest stage of menu planning through executing all the little details - reminds me just how much cooking relaxes me. Thursday and Friday, I spent all day at the store, in the kitchen, or taking care of smaller details like writing out cards explaining the food. From start to finish, it's

Of course, now I still have a bunch of dishes to wash because yesterday I was just too tired (we stayed up very, very late). But worth it. So worth it.

Plus, we still have so much fun wedding stuff to look forward to. Friday, I'm going to NYC with Missy and Sarah and Gilly and we're having dinner at The Modern! Then we have a one week break, followed by the wedding itself.

Weddings. They are just so much fun.


Cail said...

I LOVE The Modern! We went there last year for my birthday, and I still think about the hamachi appetizer I had...

strawberriesinparis said...

That menu sounded awesome!


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