Have you ever heard the Shel Silverstein poem that starts: “I’m writing these poems from inside a lion and it’s rather dark in here…” ?
Well I’m writing this post from inside a congested head cold and it’s rather stuffy in here, which made me think of Silverstein’s poem.
It was a good weekend, a busy weekend, which is why I think I’m sick now. It started out Friday evening with a wonderfully acted play called The Yellow Boat, performed by the middle school at the school where I work. The kids did an amazing job and I was moved by their performance. Check out the script if you’ve never heard of it. Warning, it’s a tear-jerker!
Saturday Sam and I prepared for our housewarming/birthday party – there were cupcakes and appetizers to be made, wine to be bought, and house cleaning to do, of course. People loved the chocolate frosting on the cupcakes (same as last year requested by Sam) and the appetizers went over pretty well too, despite a slightly runny cheese ball.
In addition to party preparations I had another party to prepare for: a holiday party for a repeat Kitchensurfing client! Being asked to cook for him again was a great pleasure, but preparing heavy appetizers for a party of 40 by yourself can be a bit overwhelming. Here was my (over)ambitious menu:
Prosciutto Pinwheels (From Causing a Stir – shout out to my St. Paul’s folks back home!)
Baked Spinach Bites (also from CaS)
Beef tenderloin sandwiches
Cucumber and smoked salmon cups
Spiced Nut Mix
Bacon Scallion Cheese ball (in the shape of a pine cone)
Bacon-wrapped Dates stuffed with pecans
Mini pumpkin cheesecakes
Apple cider caramels (post to come)
I spent much of the day Saturday either lugging groceries from store to home or racking up mileage in my kitchen going from fridge to counter to fridge and back. Sunday was equally busy as I spent it cooking (and cleaning) pretty much from dawn to dusk. Needless to say the work paid off. I remembered to bring everything (except the darn camera!) and the party was a hit! At the end of the party, the host toasted me and my companion (his housekeeper – without her I couldn’t have pulled off such a big party since she helped me clean everything and tray the apps). He even invited us to join the party and have a glass of wine. We politely declined in favor of dragging our tired bodies home instead.
Despite not using the labels I had brought to tell the guests what items were, (everyone thought the prosciutto pinwheels were cinnamon rolls – oh well) everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food. The runny, bacon cheese ball, which had been such a mess when I practiced it for our party guests turned out beautifully for Sunday’s party, and the spinach bites were a surprise sell-out! The day ended happily despite my lack of sleep Saturday night and I came home exhausted and happy to find the laundry done and dinner made by my ever-supportive and loving guy. What would I do without him?
The only negative consequence of a successful weekend is my poor health, so I recommend to you if you’re throwing a holiday party to keep it small and don’t cook for two parties back to back. I learned my lesson.
And if you’re hosting a party and you want an easy hand-held appetizer, the prosciutto pinwheels are sure to please and simple to make. Just make sure people know what they are! Happy cooking.
(an illustrated recipe – from Causing a Stir)
Thaw 2 sheets of puff pastry from a 17.5 oz package (see package for recommendations how)
Spread with as much or as little creamy, herbed cheese as you desire (Causing a Stir recommends 10-12 oz. of the Alouette brand cheese for 2 puff pastry sheets) leaving a 1/2-inch border on one side to seal (the picture above is before I had finished spreading all of the cheese).
Tightly roll (like a cinnamon roll) toward the edge that you left uncovered. Moisten the border with a bit of water and gently press it into the roll to seal the edge. Repeat with remaining puff pastry, cheese, and prosciutto.
Freeze the rolls for 45 minutes or until firm. Slice into 1/4-inch slices and bake on parchment-paper lined sheet pans at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and serve!
I wish I could show you a picture of the result, but since I forgot the camera for the party I have nothing to show. Make them for yourself and you will see. Delicious and beautiful.
Here’s to more holiday (and other) parties!