Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ho Ho Ho...

and a Merry Christmas to all.

Last night's dinner party was a great success. Not the food particularly, since I cooked a prime rib, which I don't think I've ever done before (yes, how sad, to get to my age and be a prime rib virgin). I put it in the oven with the temp probe inserted correctly, or so I thought. But the temp never registered. Then, of a sudden, due I think to a wiggle of the probe, it did. And was at it's pre-ordained internal temp. Or so it said. But when D carved it, it was still a bit blue. So our guests had a choice of rare, very rare, or the outside piece. They didn't seem to mind.

I wasn't too impressed with my latkes either, which I made to honor the evening as Chrismukah. But the pear sauce I made to go with it was a hit, and worth the tedious grating of the pears (I took photos, thinking I'd illustrate, but, eh, it's too late tonight).

My cupcakes were a bit dry. I cannot make cupcakes. I'm okay on the cake part, but when it gets divided into little frilly baskets, something happens to the batter and--I don't know--the result is less than rewarding. I decorated these with fluffy white frosting, flavored with peppermint. I even hauled out my cake decorating tools and did a stylized green Christmas tree on each, with little silver shot balls, which probably sounds better than it looked because I used a green that was better suited to camouflage. And the fluffy white frosting got a bit sticky, more like fluffy white glue. We tried one and D made an emergency run to the store for ice cream. I find ice cream will cure whatever ails a cake, don't you? Of course, he did get spumoni, which he bought because he liked the colors, not because he knew what it was. Still, the guests all ate their cupcakes with seemingly unfeigned pleasure.

So my food, which has in the past been the high point of my dinner parties, was less than sterling. What made this evening so special was the guests. There were four couples and some of us didn't know the others at all. But people came and they drank and they ate and they drank and they laughed and they ate and they laughed and then they drank some more. I got to do all the fun things that I've loved about dinner parties past, like serve port and Stilton. I haven't entertained much in recent years. It just didn't seem worth the work. Can I tell you how many times I've bought port and Stilton in the past and neither got cracked? But last night, lordy lordy, they ate and drank it all. Clearly, I've been running with the wrong bunch.

And now I'm tired (as you can tell by my rambling), so to all a good night....


  1. Good for you for making your own pear sauce! I served it with latkes, too, but mine came from Trader Joe's. :-)

    Dry cupcakes are probably just overbaked. Or else it was a bad recipe, and I should send you the one I used for The Toddler's first birthday party, which has cream cheese in the batter. Nothing containing cream cheese is ever dry.

    It sounds like a swell evening!

  2. Oh, MAN! Wish I could have come! Sounds like a delightful party. I wanna see pictures of your pear sauce process (or results) - have never even heard of pear sauce but it sounds DELISH. And OMG, stilton and port??? Wow. I also want pictures of your less-than-perfect cupcakes, but then I'm a visual person, lol. Glad you had fun! Thanks for the post about all of it! Happy Holidays!

  3. Now I'm hungry for cupcakes.

    I must say that I love reading food. I loved it when it was Laura Ingalls Wilder (remember Farmer Boy? Those people would sit down to 8000 calorie breakfasts and come back in for snack!), and I love it when it is Patricia Cornwell, whose Scarpetta seems to be a great fictional cook, always opening a fabulous bottle of wine while she throws together something braised and mulls over the murder at hand). (This was before Pat Cornwell put her name on Predator, which she clearly didn't write--or, alternatively, her ghostwriter quit, and she ONLY wrote Predator) So your cupcakes reminded me of those foody books.


So--whaddaya think?