Friday, July 13, 2007

Red Mango, here I come!

Less than 24 hours to go. I should probably pack.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

delicious, delicious spam

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
A week ago I attempted to host a casual dinner party at my apartment. This might seem like peanuts to some, but for me that's a stressful ordeal. It doesn't make sense - I like cooking and baking. Oftentimes recipes are meant for 4-8 people. I am one person with limited fridge space. Having a dinner party should be ideal - lots of fun cooking, lots of people to feed, no leftovers in the fridge. Right? Hmm...

My brother and I have done some self psycho-analysis and realized we have inherited party-hosting-phobia from...that's right, you guessed it, our *mother*. She is an amazing cook. She loves to try lots of new recipes. And whenever we have had a dinner party at our house, it has been amazing. But what our guests couldn't see was the week before, with the crazy menu planning ("MOM! You do NOT need ten different appetizers on top of three different meat entrees!") and the insane need for the house to be spotless. In fact, having anybody over at our house seems to be a source of stress for my mother since the house needs to be "clean" so growing up my brother and I didn't really have anybody over to hang out except for birthday parties. And while I told myself I wouldn't be like that when I got older, I think I am... Even my brother, who is an amazing cook, feels the stress of "entertaining." Gah. So this super casual dinner was quite a big deal.

I found myself wanting to plan the perfect menu and stress out about having enough food. And while Kevin told me to chill out and relax, it turns out I was the one who convinced him that three and a half pounds of flank steak is more than enough for 12 people, and no, we don't need to roast a chicken on top of that. His cousin came early to help cook and we ended up with so much food that I spent the next day in a food-and-cooking-induced coma, and ate Otsu and flank steak for lunch every day the next week.

Here is what we ate:

Spam sushi (mmm, Kevin's cousin brought the ingredients)
Crabcakes (also made by Kevin's cousin. Her boyfriend decided to make a sauce with my handblender and then a mild disaster occurred and there was sauce all over the floor. Yum!)
Stuffed mushrooms - Randall made up the stuffing on the fly. We used one of the portuguese sausages I smuggled back from Hawaii.
Salad with strawberries, feta, and marcona almonds - I got this recipe from the chronicle food section. The dressing was made with honey, roasted red peppers, vinegar, and oil. So delicious!
Marinated flank steak - my mom's secret recipe (okay, not so secret, it's in a Sunset cookbook) that is a foolproof party favorite. People would request it when my mom had dinner parties...
Otsu - used Heidi Swanson's (101 Cookbooks) recipe but left out the tofu
Low fat cheesecake - this deserves its own post. The recipe is from America's Test Kitchen, and it honestly tastes like the real thing.

Phew! I look forward to doing that again! Well, maybe in five years.