May 14, 2008

Mother's Day Feats

Last Saturday, during a break in the rain, we had all the local mother's in our family over for a feast. What fun! It gave me an excuse to cook, which I love, and helped me meet a goal. For the first time in my life I hosted a party where I wasn't running around at the last second, frantic, and not nearly ready for anyone to arrive, let alone be entertained. The house was clean, the food was prepped and either finished or ready to be finished off for serving. Amazing!

As I'm writing this now I'm wishing I took pictures! Not just of the food but of the day. It was most excellent. So, I guess, though we weren't rushed or stressed we did fall down on the job there. (Aside from all the tender family moments, my food staging was superb and it's a shame we didn't capture it. Just kidding!)

We served:

  • Crud d'ete
  • Olives
  • Various cheeses with Simply Enjoy brand Apricot & JalapeƱo and Balsamic Onion jams. Simply delicious!
  • A variation on the Barefoot Contessa's Curried Couscous that is becoming a cookout/party standard (Thanks, Nati!).
  • Organic Simply Enjoy hot dogs for the boys and their dad, my brother.
  • Latin Pork with Lime Marinade from this random medical Web site. No matter it's origin though, it was SCRUMPTIOUS, so we can feel good about it being good for us too. Dima grilled it to perfection, as always.
  • Spice rubbed chicken (our secret: McCormick's Season All. Basic and tasty, it let's your sides be the star.) with avocado salsa (I actually forgot to put this out. Whoops!).
Now, for the rest of this and the avocado salsa above, I need to give props to The Domestic Goddess and her minions at Everyday Food. I got a subscription for Christmas from my aunt in-law and I love it, love it, love it! Every single recipe was delicious and easy. You can't beat that with a stick!
  • Cucumber-Carrot Bites - yummy little bites of hollowed out English cucumber stuffed with grated carrots in a sour cream/vinegar sauce. They were billed as after-school snacks. Whatever! I ate them on the weekend and am still eating the leftover carrots as a side salad.
  • Mini Corn Cakes with Scallions - these were super cute and tasty. A little cayenne pepper gave them a bite that was balanced nicely with... more sour cream.
  • Two-pea Pasta with Ricotta and Tarragon - This was delish and easy to prepare. The key is not over cooking the peas so they stay nice and bright green. Next time I think I'll try basil instead of tarragon.
  • Honey roasted baby carrots - again, quick, easy and divine.
For desert, we offered up a strawberry-orange ice cream (see recipe at the bottom of this post)—a variation on my constantly morphing ice cream recipe: avocado banana and ginger pumpkin—with my sister in-law, Carey's, fabulous fudge brownies. What an excellent way to finish off the meal and an excellent day. Yeah for moms! They rock! A point I especially appreciate now that I am one.

Strawberry-Orange Ice Cream

Makes about 1 quart

1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cups light cream
1 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange extract
a dash of salt

Throw everything in the blender and process until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to freeze. Blend a few more seconds before pouring into the ice cream maker just to make sure everything is evenly distributed. Follow your ice cream maker's instructions for freezing.

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