Well, what was intended to be a welcome dinner was so delayed that it became a good bye dinner instead. we invited my to colleagues over and their significant others, for a meal that that became an endless list of food highlighted by wine from their recent trips to Napa.
The meal started in the office. we saw each other from 9am, when i arrived and concluded past 11 that night. (I hope they weren't sick of me.) We left work together at 5 on the trolley and caught our shuttle home- making sure to get the mail since my new, and only, tablecloth hadn't arrived.
We found it, proceeded upstairs and set the table before anything else. it is the first time Ive had guest over to watch the whole production, which was a new change. we crowded our skinniest chairs into the kitchen and cracked open, after ten minutes of trying, a bottle of champagne.
The meal began with a timing list i made with takes and time frames to make all these items on time: cheese and crackers, tomato, basil, mozzarella skewers, chicken with mango avocado salsa, cous cous, asparagus, salad and chocolate cake with ice cream and sorbet.
The last dish to be eaten started first since the sour cream for the icing needed to be room temperature. the rest of the cake was next, in steps, with marinades and salsa in between. the best part was having ES read me the chocolate dump it cake recipe for AH's book in between multitasking. maybe I could get used to help in the kitchen.
Or maybe not. i started to get drunk. i stopped measuring. i think there were some concerns about the fizziness of the batter and the hot sauce on the chicken... when our other, lesser, halves arrived, they left the kitchen and i finally had my space to cook as I pleased. ;)
I took a break to put together apps and sent them out while everyone had beer and wine. I enjoyed capturing moments of the conversation from the kitchen as JW ran around trying to watch pieces of the Phillies in the other room. the asparagus was cooked with garlic, butter, and lemon. The cous cous was started and the chicken was finishing. dicing the salad and making the dressing was last.
The dressing was an improvised version of epicurious... too bad I don't measure and cant recreate. I omitted the shallots, anchovy paste, but all else was close enough. [Whisk together 1/4c red-wine vinegar, 2 1/2t minced shallot, 2t Dijon mustard, 1 garlic clove mashed into paste, and 1/2t anchovy paste in a small bowl until combined well, then add 1c olive oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in 1 1/2t fresh thyme, 1 1/2T basil, and salt and pepper to taste.]
We had dinner, had conversation, we had wine, we competed to tell stories, and we had a great time.
The plates were cleared and I ate too much. i finished the icing and put in some candles for MS even if just to show off the cake. she was right, we didn't need the parchment paper, it came out perfectly. we served it with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet and devoured it. and ate the rest for breakfast in the office the next day...