Post-party Post-Mortem

Saturday night was a blast.  I arrived at my friend's house about 4:15pm, and we were ready to serve by 6pm.  That's pretty good in my book.  It helps to have a kitchen with two ovens, a grill right outside the door, all the counter space you could need for prep, as well as a disposal, two refrigerators, and heaven knows what else is hiding in her kitchen.  But I can tell you, if something is hiding in there, I want to use it.

You will notice that one thing is missing from this post.  Pictures.  I had plans.  Big plans.  Mostly, to photograph the food...and not just the food but the spread.  The plan was to photograph it, so that I could share it here.  with you.  Online.  But by the time I remembered, 80% of the food was gone.

What did we serve?  When I arrived, the first thing we did was to heat up the grill.  It was important to get the steak grilled (it's use will be described later) so that it could rest for an hour before slicing. My friend (I'll call her 90210) had already prepared a Spinach & Artichoke dip in her crock pot.  I tried it - it was delicious.  So, while I prepping toast points (which consisted of me slicing up French Bread, and brushing it with a mixture of olive oil, pepper, salt and garlic) 90210 was prepping the meatballs.  Neither of us had any ground fennel, and so I had brought over my mortar and pestle and she quickly went to work grinding up the whole fennel seeds that she had in her pantry.  In no time at all, she had all the ingredients mixed up for the meatballs.

By 5pm, the steak was resting, the meatballs were cooking, and the mushrooms were waiting to be stuffed.  I began to inform 90210 how to construct a baked brie.  My personal favorite way to do this is to roll out the puff pastry (after thawing it properly) and pressing out any creases that may appear.  Place the brie wheel in the middle, and then spoon apricot preserves on top.  I think it's ok to be generous with the preserves, but it can get a bit gooey.  Once you have that bit done, you can fold up the pastry to enclose the brie and preserves, and then I like to make an egg wash of egg and milk.  I think a milk wash or an egg wash alone would be sufficient, but the mixture, to me, adds nice color to the pastry without burning it.  We popped that in the oven for an hour.

The stuffed mushrooms were coming along.  Onions, celery, panko, stems, it really came together quickly with two of us working.  We sliced the steak, dolloped a horseradish cream sauce on the toast points, and topped it with a slice of steak.  Once the meatballs were done baking, they were transferred to a sauce pan with some Roasted Onion & Garlic Jam.  It was delicious.

With the help of 90210, we were ready to go by 6pm.  Our third hostess, Lady31, arrived with her wares in tow, and began to set them up for display.  It is amazing just how many bags you can have - and each one with a different purpose.  As our guests filtered in, we wondered if we may have made too much food.  They all seemed to enjoy it.

Our final spread included meatballs, stuffed mushrooms, cracked-pepper steak crostini, baked brie, spinach & artichoke dip, crudite, and a cheese platter.  Our guests supplied their own wine, and my beer (Thank you, SeƱorita!).  As I said, I'm missing pictures.  Why oh why didn't I take any pictures???

Thanks, 90210, for letting me cook in your kitchen!

Great evening, great company!

9.20.13 Update: I completely failed to mention, that as this was a direct sales party, there were guests who were bound to agree to host a party of their own.  So, when Miss Bliss said she was going to book a party, she asked me to cater her event.  Is this the start of a new business for me?  I know, I know...two parties do not make a business.