Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bring your own party!

Since I fell and did enormous damage to my leg, many of my friends have tendered invitations to come to their houses for dinner/drinks/brunch/whatever.

Of course I am still stuck in the wheelchair, and it's a total pain to haul me around, since where I go, the chair goes too! But oh glory! The doctor told me last week that I can take that brace, you know, the big heavy one that goes from my ankle all the way up to..anyway, that I can go without it at home. Only at home.

So it seemed to me that the best bet was to have the party come to me. And my friend Jennifer Biggs arranged it for last night. Everyone she called brought some sort of great munchie and a bottle or two of VERY good wine. Some even brought flowers. Well, that's the kind of friends I have.

I fully intended to take pictures for you and give you recipes for the treats, but somehow that just didn't happen.

We had a marvelous crab-artichoke-cheese-roasted pepper thing. Just warm enough for the cheese to be gooey...yum. There was a savory cheesecake thing. Chicken saltimbocca, thinly sliced with a great dipping sauce. Crudites with a sort of olive tapenade. I had a bottle of Rao's great roasted peppers that are fab,and make wonderful crostini; go looking for them in your town (You know, obviously, where to get them in Memphis). Joanna and Roy brought the Earth and Vine Spicy Apple Jam drizzled over quite a nice goat cheese that had been mixed with a bit of fresh rosemary. A VERY felicitous combination. Of course, I can't do much from 10" below counter/stove level, but I got some lovely big cocktail shrimp. Two dipping sauces, one from Stonewall Kitchens, Tequila Lime cocktail sauce, yummy right out of the jar, and the other I made, a Creole remoulade sauce inspired by my Cajun next-door neighbor when I lived in New Orleans.

Here's was was in it: the finely grated zest and juice of a pretty big lemon. Most of a jar of Zatarain's creole mustard. One bunch of green onions, roots trimmed and the (usually) sort of slimey outside layer discarded, roughly chopped including any of the green tops that looked good. A couple of tablespoons of good red wine vinegar. A scant teaspoon of horseradish. A splash of really fruity olive oil. I whizzed all that in the cuisinart and scraped it into a bowl. I added probably a cup and a half of REAL mayonnaise. Not that wimpy reduced fat kind. Tasted and did maybe 6 dashes of Tobasco, some would want more, some none at all.

I did it shortly before the guests were due to arrive (I seem to have recently picked up the tendency to be a bit of a procrastinator...if I hadn't been so well prepared for that dinner party I would NOT have been lolling around on the patio, deciding to raise that *&@# table umbrella...but hindsight being 20-20 and all...) and it was pretty good. However, today my across-the-street neighbors invited me to dinner and I made a little app tray of leftovers and BOY! That sauce was so much better today. I'm thinking that I might use the last of it to make tuna salad. I'll get back to you on that.

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