Our guests this evening were a pair of Debs, a Harley and a Paul (and I raise you a Craigie!). It was great to have the Welch’s and the Anderson’s over, giving us a chance to catch up on our lives. It was a wonderful evening!
- Mixed nuts and a cheese platter with crackers. Cheeses included some Gouda, a Gorgonzola, Humboldt Fog and a triple Brie. The Anderson’s also brought a wonderful brie stuffed with truffles.
- My old standby: Tomato soup with noodles and soup meatballs (Tante Tini’s recipe)
- Loekie’s Lamb Shanks (Cook’s Country Lost Suppers recipe … my mom’s recipe!)
- Steamed green beans
- Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Paul and Deb Anderson
- Harley and Deb Welch
- The tomato soup was a hit, as usual. During prep this time, I strained it using cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer. This made the clean up of the strainer a snap (no embedded food in the tiny mesh of the strainer). The soup came out as a very clear broth, which was different than before, but still very delicious. It’s a very light soup, which is different from most soups you’d get as a first course.
- I doubled the recipe for the lamb shanks. This meant that I had 8 lamb shanks, each shank cut in half. 16 pieces … phew! Luckily my Dutch oven is the 9 quart size. The meat and sauce just fit in the pot. The timing of completion was terrific. I knew I wanted to serve dinner around 7:30, so the shanks went into the oven at 5PM. Prep ahead of time (all the browning of the shanks) took about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Worked out great!
- I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough rice, so I made a batch in advance that I could heat up if necessary. I then set up a 2nd batch to start automatically to be done in time for the 7:30 dinner. (I love my new automatic, time delayed rice cooker!)
- I left the green beans in the steamer just a tad too long, but nothing too detrimental. It’s always a toss up to keep them warm vs. overcooking. I lost the battle this time.
- I loved making the red velvet cake! I hadn’t made a cake, more importantly a layer cake, in years. I used CI’s hint to weight the batter as you put it in the cake pans, so that the layers come out even. Worked like a charm! The cream cheese frosting was delicious, just sweet enough to complement the cake. The decorating wasn’t too bad, either!