Monday, November 12, 2012

Friends, Food and Belly Laughts

Saturday, I finally got around to having my annual Fall Dinner Party.  I am sorry to say that I never once got my camera out.  I know, I know.  I was just a little too in the moment to grab the phone or camera (which I finally found).

I ended up making three recipes out of my last two issues of Bon Appetit.  They were:

Pimenton Roast Chicken with Crispy Potatoes

Apple Croustades

and last but not least Parker House Rolls.

We started our meal with a salad of mixed greens, brie, roasted walnuts, and pears along with a store bought pomegranate vinaigrette.  We also had Oven Roasted Asparagus in the way that Ina would make it, and Oven Roasted Mixed Veggies (onions, mushrooms, zucchini, red peppers, yellow peppers, olive oil, S&P, 500 degrees, 20 mins).

The chicken was was really good.  I only marinaded it for about 6 hours, and I can only imagine it would have been unbelievably good had we been able to do it overnight.  I learned a few things along the way while making it.  The paprika/garlic paste would not spread out, but once I wrapped the chickens in stretch-tite, I was able to use it spread the paste very nicely over the chickens.  Next time I make it, I will start the cooking process with the chickens breast down, and then flip them breast up when you are supposed to turn the oven down (30 minutes in).  The thighs took a long time to get done and were a little soggy, I think that flipping the chicken would alleviate this problem, and if I were only making one chicken, I might even consider doing it beer can style among the potatoes.  The recipe states that you can make the chicken and potatoes in a separate pan, but I say that would be a mistake.  The chicken lends great depth of flavor to the potatoes, and my dinner guests just kept raving about how good the potatoes were.  Chicken is the new pork fat. ;)

The Parker House Rolls were pretty good.  They were not as good as I had hoped, but I think if I used softened butter in between the rolls instead of melted, that might have done the trick.  Also, I hand kneaded the dough, and I think next time I would throw it in the kitchenaid with the dough hook.  To me, this always yields a smoother dough than when I hand knead.  All that said, everyone really enjoyed the rolls, and someone took the leftovers home with them.

The Apple Croustades had a great taste, but I felt like they were a little fussy to make, and I probably wouldn't make them again.  They just didn't offer enough wow factor for the effort.

On a funny side note, our neighborhood was having a bonfire Saturday night.  As soon as some of our guests arrived, one of the neighbors came by and told us we really needed to come to the bonfire because it was going to be a lot of fun.  Great...maybe we will stop by.

About 45 minutes later, the same neighbor, now about three glasses of wine in comes by, slurring her speech, and telling us we really need to come by, because they are having a blast.  After which, she falls down in my yard.  We all got a good giggle out of that.

Another hour or so later, the door bell rings, and there is the same neighbor.  Up until this point, only my hubby had been dealing with her.  This time I went to the door, and here is where it got creepy.  She looks at me with that "we all bundle" kind of stare, and says, "Everyone is there, you all have to come over."  Then she runs her fingers through my hair and says, "You have such pretty hair, I wish my hair was like yours!"  Yikes, it was totally a single white female kind of moment.  But, after the door was closed, and I made sure she didn't fall down the stairs, we all got some major belly laughs over it, and I am sure that though the food was great, this dinner party will be remembered for the crazy neighbor!

***I paired our meal with a Casillero del Diablo 2010 Carmenere wine.  It paired beautifully with the whole meal!  At first I was afraid it was going to be too oaky for my liking, but after the glass breathed for just a few minutes, it was fabulous!  It is less tannic than a merlot, but it is a deep red wine.  The berry flavor came through strong with hints of coffee and an almost chocolatey finish.  This Chilean wine may very well grace our Thanksgiving table, and you should give it some thought for yours as well!***

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