Monday, February 22, 2010

The Key!

I like to entertain, maybe actually LOVE to entertain. Before Babes was born I would spend HOURS painstakingly arranging a menu, then marinating, cutting, and piecing together food. At some point I was even cutting pats of butter in decorative shapes. With the arrival of a child, however, I no longer have the time to spend the whole day in the kitchen. Menus have gotten simpler, decorations less fancy, everything pared down to the essentials.
I had baby group at my house on Friday and then again today. While it is not a dinner party, by a long stretch, it still set my entertaining mind aflutter. BUT instead of a whole day's prep or even several house I had everything together and laid out in under two hours (including dressing myself and the child). And here's what I did...
1. I cleaned the day before: toys picked up, floors vacuumed, kitchen wiped, dishwasher empty. So this morning I only had to put breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.
2. I also made fudge last night (which was mainly because I wanted fudge, not because I felt that these people somehow deserved fudge)
3. To serve, I had a wedge of cheese, then around it crackers, and around that mini oranges, sliced apples, grapes, blue berries, cherry tomatoes.
4. Then I set out the cups, spoons, sugar, and honey for the tea,
And I was all done. I did mourn the fact that my three part serving dish that used to hold olives that I would marinate myself, or marinated mozzarella now held goldfish crackers, but it was still pretty to look at with a minimal amount of fuss.
I have stocked my freezer with all sorts of dinners, but I think my new goal will be to get some entertaining items in there as well. Maybe freeze some bread sticks, cookies, and cheese medallions so that when people show up I can have fresh baked goodies to offer (I loved being able to offer two kinds of homemade fudge!). Now if only I could master the art of small talk.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Kitchen Chemistry

DH is out of town this week and I've been experimenting with kid pleasing meals. And it does work. Add a little ground beef, pasta and cheese to just about anything and my toddler with eat it. Unfortunately to my more adult taste buds this week has been a little uneventful. A kid pleasing meal is good every once and a while but a week's worth... not so much. So most of these casseroles are going into the freezer for lunch time ease and I'm going to spend the next two days experimenting with making sour cream, yogurt and fudge. He he he I've already made Penuche which some people know as brown sugar fudge and it is DELICIOUS! I used to make it as a kid and I hesitate to make it these days unless there are going to be people that I can take it to so that they will eat it. Once you eat some you have to keep eating more so I try to get rid of it as soon as possible. I'm excited to make chocolate fudge though, I've never done it before. It looks like it's the same techniques as making Penuche so hopefully it will turn out well. I always feel a little like Harry Potter in a potions class making candy. You've got sugar, milk, vanilla and butter, add a little heating and cooling, then rapid stirring and VIOLA! You've got fudge. Apparently there are some pretty crazy chemical reactions going on, seriously they should do this in chemistry class too! How much sweeter would it be?