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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trip and more Torts

The story continues...but as always there is a dinner idea...

As I continued to explore my notes among the pages of the Silver Palate books, I began to see this young wife/mother trying to impress with her cooking skills. At some point it seems she gave up on intimate elaborate/noveau cuisine dinners and moved toward appetizers. Not sure if she found them easier to cook, easier to entertain with, or just easier to avoid the disapproval from the primary cook. But she persevered, bought the second Silver Palate, “Good Times,” and a few years later her daughter bought her the “New Basics” as a birthday present. She was touched because the daughter had been with her when she purchased the first "Silver Palate",and had been part of good meals and bad meals, welcomed meals and scorned meals, and was apparently still trying to encourage her mother's cooking!! However the daughter today would totally dismiss the mother's attachment to the tattered “Basics…” roll her eyes and say…“just get a new one!!”

One my discoveries among the loose note pages was a three page party plan. It listed appetizers and time line for the first cocktail/appetizer party for friends and colleagues, which I planned and executed solo. The occasion was actually a surprise party for the “primary cook” who was defending his dissertation at a University eight hours away and then driving home. The party was on Friday, and the timeline started on Monday with general notes of cleaning, Tuesday grocery shopping, Wednesday get beer and wine…etc. By Friday it was hour by hour…leave office 11:15, Mac machine – 11:30am, Gourmet Shop 11:35, French Connection 11:45, Quaker Bakers noon and Florist 12:15, home to prepare food and arrange table. Be ready by 5:30pm, serve “pockets hot” at 6pm, 7pm and 8 pm.

With prepared purchases and my own cooking, the menu included more than 16 different offerings as well as two cases of beer, a case of red and white wine, soda and three bottles of champagne. And a note to call for pizza if we ran out of food!

What amused me as I read all of this, was there was no indication that I had a back up plan for the food and 25-30 guests if the defense was unsuccessful or if turnpike traffic was backed-up. Today I would never think of being so risky…. on second thought... make up a story and enjoy the food, wine and friends. Plus the "primary cook" is no longer in MY kitchen!

And now for a dinner idea…from my notations about a tortellini salad prepared years ago, I offer this updated version. I know tortellini was in my last blog, but today's idea is my own creation. I have served this dish as a main offering when having an informal gathering, and as meal on a summer evening.

Entree: Torts Antipasto: I particularly like Barilla’s bagged three cheese torts for this dish. The cooked (cooled) torts are arranged in the center of a large platter, surrounded by roasted red peppers, aged provolone, slivers of Parmesan, black and green olives, cherry tomatoes and prosciutto. Olive oil,garlic, fresh oregano and fresh basil are mixed and then poured over the top.

Wine: I have served both red and white wine with this pasta dish.

To be continued...


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