Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday GUEST BLOG

1-25-12 hungry brain
Ann is one of the best cooks I know! ~ Judy

Memorable Evening - Dinner For Twelve
Like Judy, this girl has her hands full with winter projects. There’s #1 healthy habit- week 3, #2clean sweeping- yet to be started, #3project woolly(mittens)- in high gear, and #4dinner for twelve for a great friend.

Long story short, I work for a utility company (x 14 years) and my co-worker has worked here for 42 years. Yes, you heard me, 42 years and she works in Davenport. She is my right and left hand and really, the brains of the operation. I could write a ton more, but she’s very humble and wanted to sign off without a big hurrah. Rats, no balloons, tea or cookies. Then came my ah! moment, have a dinner for her at my house. I asked and she agreed, just keep it simple.

Now, how to make this special? I could cater (too expensive), ask everyone to bring a dish (not special) or just cook a good meal and make it special. Yep, that’s what I did. Well, I had 2 weeks to get this done.
The guest list was thinned down to twelve, twelve good friends who have worked with her over the last 20 years. Then the menu, make it like a menu with choices and have help serving it. That’s where Judy and Sue come in. I knew if I was serving and running around, it would not be special. Sue and Judy agreed and I can’t thank them enough.

While the menu looks complicated, it really wasn’t’ that hard to make.
Julia Childs French Onion Soup – made from scratch with a ton of onions, brandy and wine.
Cranberry n’ Pear Green Salad – very yummy with chocolate balsamic vinegar
Fresh Green Beans Bacon Bundles – made ahead and baked before dinner
Georgia’s Meatball Pasta – thanks to my friend Georgia for making the pasta n’ sauce, I added the pasta n’ cheese and cooked it in the crockpot.
Steak in Mushroom Sauce – minute steak browned, browned mushrooms n’ onions, then cooked onion soup in the crockpot.
Grandma Bonnie’s Apple Pie – yep, grandma Bonnie Longaberger and I finally got to use my pie crust shield.
Tyler Florence Four Layer Coconut Cake – made from scratch with cake flour, baked, cut, assembled with rum sauce and butter cream filling, frosted and covered in coconut

I cooked/baked everything on Wednesday evening and by my calculation, I needed three hours to finish up for 6 pm serving time on Thursday. I ended work at 2:30, rushed home to turn on the crockpots, warm up the soup and hang my signs (coats here, bathroom there, do not enter here and there, food station signs). 

Yes, I’m a bit detailed.

We ate in the living room (I moved the furniture to the bedroom), with party lights overhead, jazz music on. The dinner called for chargers and I was able to locate my read chargers along with a matching set of dinnerware for twelve (thanks to my Target after Christmas sale last year). The table looked very nice.

Sue and Judy were excellent, tended to our needs and served the dinner to a tee. I made dinner menus with their names on them so it would be easy for serving. Additionally, I had a nice table map for them to remember who was who. Can’t say enough, they were terrific HELP!        

To end the special evening, I got out the karaoke machine for 30 minutes, a lot of laughs on my behalf. And as a parting gift, all the girls got to pick out a special gift, a sweater mitten I made, aka “project woolly”. This was a major hit, each one got to try on and select the one that fitted them best. Darn, I should of gotten a group shot.

Congratulations to my good friend on her 42 years of service. I’m sure she will remember this evening for a long time. Like I said  … ING … The beginning of a new adventure for Joan!


Chat Later,
That Girl, Ann Marie

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