Friday, August 21, 2009

Party #3 - Happy Birthday Herme

Got to be a quick post...Believe it or not, another backyard entertainment opportunity has come up for tonight. Those keeping track of my blog know that last night was one of my biggest (not in size, but in quality) parties to date. It was very successful. But I also got a phone call from my sister-in-law this morning. She has never visited my home, and she is on her just a few hours. The sis-in-law, her boyfriend and daughter are coming for a dirt track race in the area, but my only chance to cook for them is in 5 hours... I got work to do.

But I do want to update on last night...

OK, a bit of housekeeping first. I have a goal for this blog of hosting 52 parties and talking about them here. I have already blogged about a few, but I am going to redefine my definition of party. I think I am going to make a party something planned, special event and or an event to honor a specific person. In the past, I have described anytime someone happened by the house as a party. While that maybe true in a loose definition, I want my 52 parties to be special.

So, looking back on my blogs to date, I want to make...Party #2 - Recipe #4 - Entree - Grilled Pizza -Dessert Pizza Now my Party #1. Click on the number to see what happened that night, but basically, it was a welcome party for the new neighbors. I am going to label this night ...Recipe 10 - Dessert - Chocolate Covered Bacon, As Party #2. Again, click the link to see what happened, but this was the night I wanted to entertain my friends with a special improbable dessert. A LOT of thought went into that evening, a lot of effort (ended up feeding 11 people).

And now, Party #3... Herme's Birthday. Those of you keeping track, yesterday morning was all about party prep. It wasn't going to be a big number of people, only 6. But, it was going to be something special. I wanted an upscale event. Take a look at this photo above. the table setting defined the evening for everyone. When guests arrived, they saw our good crystal. Any of you out there have a set of china or crystal that NEVER sees the light of day. Get it out and use it. What are people waiting for? It is not likely that the Pope will drop by for dinner. And besides, Special people IN your life should be treated like they are special.

I love a setting with lots of glasses. A glass for water, a glass for white wine, and a different glass for red wine. You can make life on the patio as fancy as any over priced restaurant... and spend only about a quarter of what that fancy dinner costs. And create real memories.

I started my day carving, chopping, slicing, dicing, and mixing. This was going to be a complicated meal and serving. I had one tenderloin of beef, which is basically one long skinny hunk of beef. I decided to cut this in thirds and prepare three different ways. One has a dry herb rub, one was marinaded and the third had a wet mustard rub. Each hunk of beef was also going to have a separate side accent sauce. Plus vegetables, Polenta and an appetizer.

I have long been an advocate of the Texas Cheat, or foiling your meat. Basically, finishing your meat a couple hours prior to serving, and wrapping them in foil for those two hours. They stay plenty hot, and had I not done that, I could never attempt this aggressive of a menu.

Thanks to planning, all went well. I will be blogging about the individual courses, but thanks to planning, all was served hot, fresh and as I wanted it!

We started out with a birthday toast to the party girl... Here is a great shot of Herme and Jim.

Needless to say, she was thrilled with the effort, and it really lifted their spirits. She told me it was the best night they had enjoyed in a long time. (as I said yesterday, Jim was downsized, and is currently looking for work). It was great to see her smile.

The appetizer was Bruscetta. I had toast from the grill when people arrived, and different toppings... Tomatoes, Goat cheese whipped soft, grilled onions and toasted garlic. On the grill were the veggies, and the meat was ready to be cut... All was on schedule.

And the schedule worked. The grilling veggies were able to be timed, and the evening proceeded unrushed. Again, thanks to being able to foil the meat, I could serve at my timing, instead of the meat's timing. Foiled meat kept in a beer cooler (without ice) will stay hot for several hours.

Love was in the air, here are our other guests, Jim and Lucia... It was fun!

Wine was paired with the appetizer (white for the goat cheese accented Bruschetta), and a red Merlot for the beef. We also enjoyed a chocolate martini (Herme is a great chocolate lover, so we wanted to share her passion).

Meal went great, and we headed to the firepit for my wife's chocolate cake...

Look at that smile...

A great night was had by all... Worth every minute!


  1. Oh, I am so glad it was a success - I knew it would be! I love the square plates! LOVE them!

  2. That fire pit is fantastic! I love it.

    I'm like you, I'd rather have my meat done a bit early and let it rest in a cooler then have it be late getting done. I swear it even makes it taste better!

  3. I want a fire pit! Hubby needs to get on the ball! Your table was simply gorgeous...and the party looks like a huge success...great job :D