Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Dinner Is On

I wouldn't say we are snowed in, but we do have a few inches of snow on the roads and are expecting quite a bit more between now and tomorrow mid-day--part of this big white mass that is gliding over half the country in the form of snow and tornadoes. So, while I stay snug in my house today, taking care of what work comes my way and watching Daughter #2 gleefully enjoying her snow day, I will begin the process of obsessing about the Pantasia dinner I will be hosting on Friday. More about that process later. First, here is the menu:

•Appetizer Cheesecake--a rich savory cheesecake flavored with marinated artichoke hearts and surrounded by a phyllo crust
•Scallop cakes with tomato jam--I have talked about these little tasty bits before. The tomato jam will finish them nicely, I think.
•Jamaican shrimp or gazpacho served in shot glasses--or maybe both. We'll see how industrious I feel on Friday.
•Asian Beef Salad--an incredible concoction that takes at least an hour to reduce the orange juice and madiera and various seasonings to just the right amount, and nicely roasted beef fillet thinkly sliced and tossed with red peppers and sugar snap peas and tender lettuce.

For the first time, I will share the joy of putting this all together by asking a friend/guest to bring dessert. I usually like to claim the evening entirely so that I can have complete control over the menu and the presentation and the applause. I am that selfish. I approach evenings like this with precision, making the shopping list days in advance, planning which dishes can be made a day in advance, which can be made hours in advance, which need to be made as guests arrive.

Because I think visually, I picture how everything will look on the buffet--which dishes they'll served in and in what order. I make sure the heights are varied so that two pedestal plates are not side by side and so that nothing is lined up too evenly. It's a sickness, I guess, but it's my sickness, and I don't mind claiming it. And I don't mind wallowing in it.

Remember the silver tray I use as a lipstick mirror? I'm thinking that if it's highly polished, it will make a lovely shimmery surface on which to place the shot glasses filled with red gazpacho. I'm feeling ill.


#1 said...


dive said...

And just how am I supposed to get all this drool out of my keyboard, Robyn?

Boy, oh boy, that sounds delicious! If there's any leftovers (which there won't be), send them across the Atlantic.

I can totally understand the obsessive presentation sickness. I'm just the same (even when I'm eating alone - which is 99 percent of the time, I have to have the table perfect. If something's not quite precisely as it should be I get all itchy).

RICH said...

red gazpacho? aren't we getting a bit fancy??? :)

Sounds like fun fun fun. what time should I show up?

Gaijin Girl said...

Gosh, snow and a tornado? Does that happen often?
I think visually too and I can see a perfect buffet, a warm, cosy room and lots of people laughing. I'm sure it will be a great success.

Robyn said...

#1, stay warm.

Dive, I am cooking for some of the worst food snobs I have ever met--they are delightful people, but they do know their way around food, so I do what I can to impress. The difficult part is serving something I did not serve them last year or the year before. Part of the sickness, I guess, is that I actually know what I have served them before.

Rich, dinner is served at 6. I'll set an extra place.

Gaijin Girl, the snow is north, where I am, and the tornadoes are much farther south, but it's all been classified as the same general winter storm. It's lovely here--I'll take snow over the devestation of torn off roofs and overturned cars anyday.

dive said...

You have earthquakes and taifuns to deal with.

I'm glad I live in a geologically and meteorologically boring country.

Dear Prudence said...

You eat with your eyes before you ever taste the food! Your dinner sounds fantastic and I can truly appreciate the work, angst and euphoria that goes along with the process. It is the reason I cater even though after every event I say, "That's it, never again, it's too much work and worry". The adulation is addictive.

Ms Mac said...

It sounds absolutely delightful. Your guests are very lucky people to know you!