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.