I’m taking a break from our regularly scheduled Texas blogging extravaganza to tell you about a fun little secret I’ve been harboring.
It’s pretty cool.
And it made for a pretty incredible weekend.
Do you want to know?
I bet you wanna know.
Actually, you probably don’t care, and you’re all “enough of these antics, Ché, just tell me the damn secret already.”
I mean, you’ve read this far right? Now you’ve gotta keep reading. You’ve invested so much time, it would really suck if it turned out to be fruitless. Plus, you’re not a quitter. I have faith.
Please don’t leave me.
Ok, fine. Here it is. I was chosen to participate in this month’s Foodbuzz 24×24, a monthly dinner party series that involves 24 bloggers across the globe hosting 24 different dinner parties and writing about it. In return, Foodbuzz provides you a stipend to cover the costs of the party. Three guesses what I chose for a theme. Here’s a hint:
If you guessed “letting your freak flag fly,” you’re very close.
The following was my proposal:
Anyone who reads my blog knows I have a tiny – ok, A HUGE – obsession with Harry Potter. Although the final book was completed a few years ago, the release of the final movie marks the end of the era in which Potter fans waited anxiously for the next written (or filmed) installment. Each year at Hogwarts begins and ends with an incredible feast of English delicacies enjoyed by Wizards and Muggles alike. I would like to host The Final Feast – a tribute to Harry Potter that marks the end of its era.
Oh. Em. Gee. I shrieked with surprise and delight upon finding out that they’d chosen me.
I had a pretty exhaustive menu, and in the interest of time I’ve decided to break up the recap into several posts. This post will be an overview of the food served at the party, and throughout the next week I’ll provide recipes for each dish.
KnightlySquirtis was kind and gracious enough to allow me to host this epic occasion in his lovely home.
Although (for obvious reasons) we were unable to enjoy this feast underneath a ceiling bewitched to resemble the night’s sky, the original intention was to eat under the actual night’s sky.
Then Hurricane Irene (literally) rained on my parade, so that didn’t happen. But that’s ok because I’d like to think that if we actually were in England, there’s a good chance it’d be raining there too. Power of positive thinking, folks.
But!! KnightlySquirtis’ house is on a lake, so it was almost like Hogwarts! (You know, because Hogwarts has that iconic lake on its grounds…so does KnightlySquirtis’ house. Duhhhhh. It’s like, the exact same thing…)
Before the party, I sent this sorting hat test to guests and requested that they sort themselves into their respective Hogwarts houses.
I got Ravenclaw. KnightlyBoyfriend got Gryffindor. Which house are you?
In preparation for the party, I bought the groceries on Thursday night, came home at my usual time on Friday (9:30pm) and proceeded to cook my ass off until 4 in the morning. Maverick kept following me around, pawing at my heels and meowing at me as if to say “Mom. Stop cooking and cuddle with me, please.”
KnightlyBoyfriend kept following me around and trying to pick pick pick at the food. He sustained several smacks to the wrists, but no injuries were life-threatening.
Then, around 3am, the Pips reached their limit.
Men. They just can’t hang.
You know my rule. As always, dinner began with cocktails.
This was my stroke of genius.
I really wanted to use single-malt scotch for the cocktails, since it’s mentioned several times throughout the books. Hagrid likes it, and Madame Maxime’s “‘orses” drink only that.
We all know about the Tom Collins, but I also discovered a little beverage called a blood and sand. My thoughts immediately flew to chapter 32 in Goblet of Fire, Flesh, Blood and Bone. When (SPOILER ALERT) Wormtail gathers ingredients for the potion that will return Voldemort fetus to his human body, he uses Harry’s blood and a bone from the grave of Tom Riddle Senior. When he removes the bone from the grave, it emerges as a fine sand. Therefore, I combined elements of a blood and sand with a Tom Collins to make the Tom Riddle!
I know. Genius. That’s why I was sorted into Ravenclaw.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 1 min
Cook time: 1 min
Total time: 2 mins
A combination of the Tom Collins and blood and sand (both made with scotch), the Tom Riddle, unlike Voldemort himself, is light and sweet nice notes of scotch and citrus.
- 2 oz. single-malt scotch
- 2 oz. cherry liqueur
- 2 oz. lemon Juice
- 2 oz. club Soda
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Combine the scotch, cherry liqueur and lemon juice into a shaker with ice. Shake, shake, shake.
- Pour into a frosted martini glass and top off with the club soda.
- Garnish with the lemon zest.
- If serving a large group, you can make this into a punch by gathering equal parts of the scotch, cherry liqueur, lemon juice and club soda (meaning you can do anything from a shot of each one to a gallon of each one and it’s all the same. Since this IS hard alcohol, I would not recommend the gallon.) and pouring them into a bowl. Sprinkle in the lemon zest and stir everything together. Ladle into glasses over ice.
The rest of the menu included individual meat pies like the ones Mrs. Weasley sends to Harry when he’s stuck with those god-forsaken Dursleys during summer vacation. I also made some mince pies, since she always sends a healthy package of those for Christmas.
The pies were, uh, rustic. You see, I’m not a baker. I don’t measure anything, ever, and I’m not precise at all. I think I’m so organized and regimented in my everyday life that when I cook I like to let loose and go a little crazy. Cutting pie crusts to the precise measurements to make a pie? Meh. Not high on my priority list. So needless to say, some of the liquid leaked out a bit.
And at the end of the day, they were yummy, so who cares.
There were three varieties.
Wanna see something funny?
The above photo is cropped. Here’s the original.
The pie photoshoot took place next to a Shape magazine. Seeing as there is absolutely nothing healthy or low calorie about these pies, I found that a bit ironic.
Pie varieties included chicken and mushroom pie – a thick blend of tender chicken and wild mushrooms, infused with a reduction of wine and homemade porcini broth.
This was my favorite, and several others agreed that it was quite the umami experience. (Umami is the supposed 5th taste – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. It’s a very meaty and earthy flavor, and porcini mushrooms are full of it.)
The second meat pie was a shepherd’s pie.
These were a must because one cannot read a Harry Potter book without the trio enjoying the dish at least once. Since shepherd’s pies are usually served casserole-style, I decided to make the individual portions open-faced by cooking them in phyllo cups.
Several guests proclaimed the shepherd’s pies to be the best dish of the evening. Please excuse me while I brush this shit off my shoulders.
Finally, we had sweet mince pies, which are a concoction of raisins, cranberries and apples.
For the main course, we enjoyed a roasted pork tenderloin with yorkshire pudding and a gillyweed slaw.
(Say hi to Irene in the background. That bitch.)
The gillyweeds were actually thinly sliced brussels sprouts, left to marinade in cider vinegar, red wine vinegar and fennel. I threw in some toasted pine nuts for good measure.
Served alongside roasted pork and yorkshire pudding baked in bacon grease (oh yes, yes I DID in fact say bacon grease).
The roasted pork soaked in marinade overnight, making it nice and flavorful. The marinade caramelized while roasting, creating a nice, salty crust around the tender medallions of meat. KnightlyBoyfriend vehemently cited this as his favorite dish, and hasn’t shut up about it since.
It’s another one of Mom’s great recipes that never fails to please.
I’ve never had yorkshire pudding, so I couldn’t tell you if this turned out like it was supposed to. But I CAN tell you that it was thick, doughy, and very good. It was a nice vehicle with which to soak up the pork marinade, which I made into a nice reduction.
Once again, the main course.
Dessert was, what else, crumpets! I made these on the sweeter side by adding fresh vanilla and lemon zest.
I also made a rosemary cherry-bourbon reduction to go with them.
Everything turned out really well, and dinner party guests seemed very pleased. Nothing was terribly difficult to make, and I think I’d make each item again.
Later that night…
The festivities forged on until about 5 in the morning. I conked out around 1:30, still tired from my late-night cooking extravaganza the night before.
It was a great time.
The dinner party guests.
The host and hostess with the mostest.
Thanks again to KnightlySquirtis for letting us use his beautiful abode for the dinner party, and thanks to Foodbuzz for the excuse to throw a good party!
Question: What would your dinner party theme be?