The unseasonably warm fall weather seems to have finally left. The days are still sunny, but now are crisp. Nights have a chill to them, and it is getting dark a lot earlier these days. On Sunday, we celebrated the last of the 80 degree temperatures with a trip to Goebbert's Farm Fall Fest. The place was jam packed. I heard later that they had 25,000 people that day. We rode the tractor-pulled wagon through a haunted barn, ate some kettle corn, and bought pumpkins. Then we all went to The Assembly, a local restaurant, for their award-winning burgers.
My birthday dinner party a few weeks ago was a blast!
I had about 12 people crammed into my tiny condo, just like sardines.
I made far too much food. I tried many new recipes as well as making at least one "old" favorite (I haven't really been cooking that long). I love making new things, because then I get the adventure of discovering how the dish tastes. But I find I make recipes better the second time around.
I discovered that while I love cooking for everyone, I cannot shop for a big party, and cook for everyone, and clean my home for company. It's too much for me. By the time everyone had finally arrived and settled down to eat, I was so tired. I enjoyed just sitting, having a drink, watching everyone eat the good food I made, and listening to conversation. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and it didn't matter at all how small my place is. However, if I'd invited everybody, that might have been more of a problem. There were 12 of us, and that was about all I could fit.
Appetizer: Sweet Heat Nachos
Verdict: These were so hot (to me). A whole fresh jalapeno is chopped and put in the mashed avocados. The fresh mango added and the sliced grapes on top took the edge off so it wasn't too bad. The secret ingredient -- fresh mint -- really makes a difference! Serving it this way was a mistake. The recipe called for each chip to be topped individually, as in canapes. Piling it all together like this made it difficult to eat. 3 stars.
Main Course: Herb Apricot Chicken (Cooking)
Verdict: Very good. I doubled the recipe, which was a mistake since my pan is not big enough to brown all that chicken. The apricot sauce with chives, thyme and parsley covered that nicely, but I'd like to try making it again, this time with less chicken. 4 stars.
Side Dish: Butternut Squash Rissotto (Cooking)
Verdict: Fantastic! It doesn't look very appetizing in the picture, since this is before I added frozen butternut squash (defrosted) to give it a lovely fall color. (Look at the table picture above to see it's finished color.) The wine I cooked it in and parmesano-reggiano I grated by hand made this dish a show stopper. Many many compliments. I want to make it again and again. 5 big stars.
Other Menu Items -- look at the picture above to see these:
* Roasted Broccoli and Green Beans (they were ok -- needed more garlic)
* Lemon Basil Pasta (which I've posted about before)
As well as wine, soda, and Mike's Hard Lemonade.
And of course...
Mom brought me a "cannoli" cake. I put "cannoli" in quotes because this cake had no actual cannoli filling anywhere in it. It was a good cake, but a terrible cannoli cake. However, the top of the cake was rather... X-rated... which led to a lot of giggles, while my mother looked bewildered.
(*pointing and snickering like 12 year olds*)
"What's so funny? Is it the cake??"
"NO! Mom, the cake is fine. Nothing funny here! The cake is great."
(*hee hee hee heee*)
And of course, the nephew ...here, playing with Daddy's new phone. He didn't eat anything. Just ran around, playing with everyone.
In other news....my company is going through restructuring, and I am not sure I will still have a job. Many jobs in my department are scheduled for cutting. I submitted my (new) resume and had an interview. I sold myself and my accomplishments as best I could. I am hoping I will not be looking for a new job soon. As a form of stress relief... last night I baked cookies. From scratch. For the first time, ever. I know, I am a late starter.
Andes Mint Cookies -- melted chocolate and buttery brown sugar goodness, baked, and then frosted with a melted Andes Mint candy. I didn't buy enough chocolate chips, so I added some cocoa powder to compensate. My cookies are not as rich as they should be, but I don't like too rich desserts, so they are perfect! 5 stars!
I wish I could find my camera, because that baking deserved a picture! Maybe next time. Have an awesome weekend.