Could it really be that this is the first “let’s have friends over” meal of 2008? Have we really been so busy that we haven’t had others over for dinner? Or is it our “eat healthier” lifestyle that we’re trying to cultivate that makes us wary of having lovely dinners with friends? I hope it’s just busyness and not fear of food. 🙂
This was our first “sit in the grotto” dinner for the year. The weather was very nice, although it did a get a bit nippy near the end of the evening. Craig is always so wonderful with party setups. I never have to clean the backyard or anything when we have a “grotto evening”. He does it all: cleaning the table and chairs, sweeping, setting up the lights, making sure we have music. It’s marvelous.
- Chicken pot pie (Best Recipe)
- Spinach salad with strawberries and toasted pecans, with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing (Shelly’s dad’s recipe)
- Parmesan cheese straws (appetizer): I made the puff pastry dough myself from my PCI class
- Edible Fruit Basket
- Renee and Mark Greenstein
- Nancy Lane
- Jackie Yee
- I made the pot pie filling the day before, which was a great way to take the stress off the day of the party. I also made the pastry topping the day before, including cutting the pieces to size, and then simply wrapped them up and placed them in the fridge until time to assemble the pot pies. This made for a really easy “prep dinner” effort for me.
- The parmesan cheese straws were the first time I’d tried to make my own puff pastry. I was glad I remembered most of my class instructions from PCI. The cheese straws didn’t get as crisp as I’d like them. I wonder if I had put too much cheese in when I was prepping the dough. It seems that the cheese melted and got a little oily, preventing the dough from crisping correctly. I recall something similar with the palmieres we made in class; the sugar melted and became too liquidy. Doesn’t affect the taste, though!
- To prep the strawberries before using them in the salad, I macerated them in a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar was also used in the dressing, so it was a good match.
- Dessert was the easiest. I decided to order an editble fruit basket, which contains fruit on skewers, dipped in chocolate. It was easy for me (I only had to order it and pick it up at the store) and it was simply delicious.