Friday, February 29, 2008

Oscar Party

Ok, here goes. I finished this post the other day and, poof, it was erased. So here we go again.
I had an Oscar party on Sunday and planned quite an elaborate meal to go along with the nominees (yes, I really am that much of a dork). My menu consisted of the following: Whiskey Sours (There Will Be Blood), Goat Cheese Salad (Michael Clayton), Chicken Chili (No Country for Old Men), Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches (Juno), and Sticky Date Pudding with Toffee Sauce (Atonement).
I started the prep work on Saturday because I wanted to make sure that I had time on Sunday to get my massage in the morning (my first ever! And honestly, it wasn't that great. And I think that my back is bruised from him "working on it.") Anyway, I chopped things that could be chopped on Saturday afternoon, onions and bell peppers, and then on Sunday I followed my time plan that I had written up in the previous few days. Ok, yes, I am that cook who has a road map of when to put things in the oven, when to take them out, when to relax for a few minutes so that I can talk to my friends. It was all written down and I tried to follow it closely. What was missing from the list was grating off my thumb as the first thing I accomplished of the afternoon. This put a bit of a hitch in my plans because it would NOT stop bleeding. And I could not out a band-aid on because I was constantly rinsing my hands in the sink and doing dishes. So I fashioned a tourniquet out of paper towels and had to re-fashion it every 10 minutes or so. This slowed me down severely. Plus it really hurt.
So there I was, cooking and thinking that I had it all taken care of. I had mixed the batter for the pudding, the chicken was cooked and I had shredded it (note: hot chicken juice REALLY hurts when applied to open wound. Just in case you weren't sure). And the chili was burbling along in the pot, mixing its flavors and juices accordingly. I had constructed the sandwiches as well and placed them on a platter, both sides liberally smeared with butter, just waiting for my new, fancy panini maker to crisp them to perfection. And my first guests arrived.

My friend Rob came with the ingredients for whiskey sours just as I had instructed. I learned that evening that in 'There Will Be Blood' they actually drank whiskey and milk, but that sounds absolutely disgusting and I decided to keep to my original plan. Part of said plan was to make them using powdered sugar and lemon juice instead of that fake tasting "sour mix" you find in the liquor aisle (I just typed "isle" before correcting myself. I guess I could think of the liquor aisle as its own little island, does that work? Word play, fun!) The whiskey sours were quite a production though. I don't own a juicer (I though that was what strong hands are for) so Rob needed sufficient room for his task. But I didn't have much room because my kitchen is poorly laid out and I only have one longer counter which is covered with but not limited to: my entire cookbook collection, a microwave, a toaster, a bowl of fruit, random fruit that doesn't fit in the bowl, the occasional piece of mail, a lovely decanter filled with sherry (?) which my roommate uses to make hot toddies. I think that is it. So, there isn't much room. And then Rob started juicing lemons on the other smaller counter next to the sink, but that is where the clean dishes are! So I freaked out a little bit.
And my friends kept pouring in. And eventually there were about 6 people milling about my kitchen, reaching for glasses, looking for wine openers. JP came with the salad ingredients, my mom was there hanging out, and I was having a breakdown. Eventually they all fled for the living room while I tried to keep cooking. It was then that I realized there was another little problem.
The silverware that I have is some lovely old silver that my dad and his girlfriend gave me. (I must give her credit because I have a sneaking suspicion that she had more to do with it than he did). But the silver is in odd quantities. I have tons of knives, enough knives to rarely have to wash a knife. And enough forks to be happy. But I do not have very many spoons. Really, there are about 3 soup spoons and 3 little tea spoons and that is it. I had not even thought about it. Until I was dishing up chili and I realized that I had stuck pretty much every spoon that I own into a condiment bowl (blue corn chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, cilantro). Uh oh. But everyone was relaxed. my mom and my step dad shared their spoon, I didn't eat yet (I am never hungry by the time I finish cooking, just stressed), and JP said that she was fine using one of my serving spoons.

I had put together the salad (arugula, goat cheese, and a really juicy pear with champagne vinaigrette), the chili was done, and JP was helping me grill up the ham and swiss, cheddar and tomato, and gruyere and sauteed portobellos, sage, and shallots sandwiches. And I had put the pudding in the oven. All was coming together as it should have been.
The pudding came out and was delicious even thought I overcooked it a bit. But with the toffee sauce and ice cream, no one could tell a thing! So it all turned out well. And the only thing left to do was the dishes.


John said...

Hi Evan. Your mom turned me onto your blog and I just read my first couple of entries. Loved it!

I wish I could subscribe, but can't find a feed? Am I missing something? Can't believe Blogger doesn't do feeds!

Blast from the past:

John Rigdon

eatingplum said...

Ouch about your finger! =( I've had that happen to me a few times. Though the worst was when I was snipping flower stems for a dinner centerpiece...and snipped part of my finger instead. I'm such a klutz.