Birthday Season: Living The Dinner Party Lifestyle
I'm a lucky girl. My friends are gracious hosts and fabulous cooks. And if they aren't, they know people who are and I get to hang out with them. I love you guys!!!! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! (These are air kisses of course.)
Last week I went to four, count them four, dinner parties. At three I was lucky enough to be an invited guest. The fourth I crashed. But I loved the people. They were absolutely divine. And I knew them and they knew me so don't be so snooty about it.
These parties were all about Birthday Season. In my social set Birth Day is not quite enough. In fact, it's not nearly enough. There must be dinners and parties and presents and acknowledgements and festivities that go on and on and on. My lovely friend Wendy is still celebrating Birthday Season well over a month after the actual day. Isn't it obvious that this is the fabulous life one should aspire to lead?
The first dinner party was for a friend's boyfriend. He is an absolute delight. When I met him for the very first time he drove us to a party, took us to cocktails in advance, and paid my admission to the party boat. Let's just say he made a good impression. Another day he took my friend and I to dinner and selected an absolutely rich Zinfandel - on Fourth of July. It's exactly what I wanted, but living in Austin, Texas where it is just a bit hot in July, it's not every guy who could have figured that out. I adore him. So we had a very informal little fete on his behalf two weeks before the day. There's nothing like a quiet little kick-off to Birthday Season. Kisses to you Tyler!
The second party was for my fabulous friend LP Lee. It was a barbeque. Our marvelous sister in Lee-dom, Catba-Lee, brought a brisket barbequed by her pitboss Daddy (who is not a Lee). Our jobs were to bring the sides. Cherry Lee had a busy week and brought extraordinarily delicious chips and dips. Mr. Clem drove his lovely wife, Victoria Lee, who delivered our favorite mustard potato salad. Bo-Geek-Lee contributed the most incredible cake ever. A fondant covered vanilla cake condom replica with the words - "Our love could not be contained". Did I mention that LP is a new Daddy? Happy Birthday LP! It was a very big year. His wife Martha Lee, provided the understated, but delicious brownie chocolate cake. Oh! I had a contribution too -
Chorizo Stuffed Grilled Jalapenos (hal-uh-peen-uhs - my pronunciation a topic of endless amusement)
24 Fresh Jalapeno Peppers
1 lb fresh chorizo sausage (there are no substitutes)
8 oz Queso Fresco, white Mexican cheese or Monterey Jack shredded
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Cook chorizo without casing in hot skillet over medium fire until cooked. Drain excess grease and set aside. Combine white Mexican Cheese and softened cream cheese, and also set aside.
Slice the jalapenos in half lengthwise and with a small spoon scoop out seeds and membrane*. Again, using a small spoon, fill one half of each pepper with cheese mixture. Fill the other half of the pepper with the cooked chorizo sausage. Put the two pepper halves back together and wrap the pepper, starting at one end and wrapping around to the opposite end, with one/half of a thin slice of bacon. Secure bacon and the pepper with a toothpick. You can make ahead, cover and refrigerate until time to grill.
Preheat grill to medium hot. Grill peppers, rolling on grate to evenly and thoroughly cook the bacon. Let cool slightly, remove the toothpick and serve.
*WARNING: Wear disposable gloves or your hands will burn for days. Additionally, removing the seeds and membranes will bring the heat of the peppers down significantly. I would consider it mild, but the peppers will still have a kick. Leaving seeds and membranes in half the pepper will give you a dish that will bite back - its hot. If you leave the seeds and membrances in both sides - only the crazy Pepper Bellys will touch it as they consider eating fresh jalapenos a competitive sport.
Next is an exquisitely elegant Friday night affair in honor of the lovely Wendy. The place settings were beautiful. And how often does someone take the time to create a seating chart and hand craft the place cards. Nice. The cheeses and appetizers were divine. We opened with a really wonderful Portuguese wine - Vinho Verde. Folks - if you like the sparkling, this is an excellent dog days of summer selection. Light and crisp with tight little bubbles - positively effervescent.
We had a marvelous shrimp pasta salad with a pasta choice I've never had before - orecchiette (little ears). Loved it! Finished with chocolate pot de creme and fresh whipped cream flavored with amaretto. Yummy!
I crashed the Saturday night party. The opening for Leo birthdays. I believe that Stew and Leo are moving right into Birthday Season. They had eaten shrimp skewers and I helped myself to one. Since I had burst the hook and eye right off my skirt while on my way to a neice's wedding earlier in the day, I decided to skip the homemade ice cream with fresh fruit and chocolate. I can't imagine why my waistline is growing. If you don't burst out laughing here its clear you haven't read my earlier blog entries. I think we all understand why - but I don't have a single regret. I've loved every bite of every single over-the-top crazy dish I've eaten all summer.
Fluffy is good!