I had my dinner party last night and it was good! The food took longer to cook than I had expected (I made the gelatin 2 days before, thankfully, but I didn't get any other cooking done in advance.)
Here was the menu:
Prosecco-Ginger Ale-Lemon Juice Gelatin with Pansies, Strawberries, and Blackberries
The juice from the cut-up strawberries tinged this a pale pinkish color, and it tasted light and refreshing and looked absolutely beautiful. I used one big box of strawberries and one small box of blackberries and one package of edible flowers and 4 cups liquid and 4 pkgs gelatin.
These came out a bit too oily, heavy, and eggy, but they were still pretty good. I doubled the recipe and grated the cheese with my new awesome Microplane grater. It's not very good at going into the corners of pieces of cheese. I used chopped thyme as the herb, and had to put batter into my 2 muffin tins as well as 2 baking sheets (well, 1 baking sheet and the roasting pan.)
Fennel and Potato Soup
Came out a little dark because of the vegetable bouillon and possibly because I cooked the vegetables too long, but overall quite tasty, esp. with a dash of anisette. Pei said it was too sweet.
Baked Brie en Croute
Christy said this was the best thing she'd ever tasted. The sticking point with this was that I had forgotten to defrost the puff pastry beforehand. I wrapped the brie in the puff pastry with the apricot jam inside. This was slightly disastrous because one or both of them started leaking and dripped brie onto the bottom of the oven and caused a lot of smoke. It was very rich and liquidy.
Very good. I sliced, salted, weighted & drained, rinsed, and broiled (about 3 mins on either side, till golden) about 7 eggplants. I minced four onions and one red pepper and left them to sweat in a pan in olive oil, then minced one bag of brown mushrooms and let those sweat and cook down for a good long time as well, until almost dry. I also added a handful of reconstituted Horn of Plenty dried mushrooms, chopped, and some of the soaking liquid; I let this absorb and evaporate as well. Then I added about four cans of diced tomatoes drained of their puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cumin, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano leaves, salt, and a large handful of chopped fresh basil. I added two packages of Morningstar (?) fake ground beef, and let them melt and the whole thing simmer a while longer. Then I layered the casseroles and topped them with a "bechamel" made of about 2 cups of plain yogurt mixed with 2 eggs and about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. These went in the oven for 1 hour at 400 degrees and came out all steaming and browned.
Chocolate Ganache Cake
AWESOME. This is the prettiest thing I have ever made. I made feathered marbling on top with lines of white chocolate ganache, and stuck some mint leaves and white chocolate shavings in the middle of the cake. It tasted great--how could it not, with more than two packages of semisweet chocolate in it?
Hazelnut and Pear Gelato
Anni brought these over from Mondo Gelato. The hazelnut was dairy, and the pear was non-dairy (a sorbet, I think).
Guest List (lucky 13!):
Rahul (gave me a Strange Foods book.)
Molly (is making me a pink necklace.)
Atsushi (gave me Godiva truffles.)
Jameel (gave me a knife set.)
Mike B. (gave me a Chocolate Desserts book.)
Erin (with Mike R., gave me a card and white balsamic vinegar and chocolates)
Christy (gave me Play with your Food magnets)
Paul (gave me a two-volume set of The Life of Langston Hughes)