Tuesday, December 15, 2009


About a week ago, my sister called asking if I would come to her holiday/house-warming 1960's/Mad Men-themed party...she lives in LA, which is a good hour and a half to two hour drive, so I was hesitant to commit-especially since the hubby couldn't make it and I'd have to go alone. Until she told me her roommate was going to have to prepare for the whole party alone (my sis works Saturdays at her salon) and was freaking out a bit.

We know I like to entertain. And we know I like to save the day. So I agreed to not only come to the party, but to come spend the day with roomie (the opera singer, who is delightful, btw) cooking and cleaning and generally making things happen.

But after the grape leaves debacle on Friday, my confidence was just a bit off, and once my sis gave me the menu rundown, I realized I had signed up for my very own episode of Dinner Impossible.

So, hungover from the work party the night before, I made the painful drive-in the rain, no less-to Brentwood. (Which became far more painful when my flip-flop slipped on the wet tile outside their apartment while carrying my overnight bag, purse, and two huge bags of ice. Always graceful.) But roomie knows how to make things better, so I was greeted with a mimosa at the door.

And then we did work.

Roomie and their friend (I'll call her the cancer researcher...I love these UCLA peeps) had already been busy bees-she's a list person, too, so there was a ton already crossed off...the eggs were boiled and peeled, the jello shots were setting, the macaroni salad was done, and mini cucumber sandwiches-crusts cut off, natch-were in the fridge. (The 60's had the most ridiculous food.)

So by the time my sis got home, we had finished the deviled eggs, started the meatballs, made the mini-pigs in a blanket (using flavored sausages, brilliant roomie that she is), cleaned the kitchen, polished off 2 bottles of champagne, rolled the goat cheese balls, rearranged the fridge, started the ham rolls, chilled the beer, and set up the bar area. And had the mini quiches and spanakopitas ready for the oven. And THEN we got ready. (Full costume required...here is my baby sis and me hamming it up, per usual.)

It was quite the spread when all was said and done. I especially loved my sister's gingerbread house (detail obsession obviously runs in the family). But the party was a success, the food was great, and we learned the important lesson that soda water really does get out everything. Which is helpful to know when people are drinking rum punch at 1am.

My only singular contribution was goat cheese balls, a new recipe the parallel excitedly sent me last week. Good stuff. I recommend either doing 4 big balls, or little tiny bite sized ones. Ours were a bit too big for the Triscuits. But totally interesting and a good conversation piece nonetheless.

Rolled Goat Cheese Balls

2 11oz logs goat cheese
big handful Wasabi peas (should be in the dried fruit or asian aisles)
5 or so gingersnap cookies
Parmesan cheese (about a 1/4 cup)
Fennel seeds (about a tbsp)
Anything else you want to roll them in. Go crazy. (I did a mix of parmesan, red chili flakes, garlic salt and green onion, but goat cheese will go with just about anything.)

Crush peas in a food processor or blender (a couple layers of ziplocs and a hammer also work, though it's not what I'd recommend). Spread on a plate. Crush cookies, spread on another plate. Mix cheese and seeds on a third plate. Use whatever you want on the fourth plate.

Roll the cheese into balls with your hands, and divide them into four piles. Roll each set of balls in a coating, and line them up pretty-like on a serving tray. Do this as last minute as you can so the coatings don't get warm and melty. We actually rolled the balls and stuck them in the fridge a couple hours in advance, and then just rolled them in the coatings at the last minute.

1 comment:

  1. OH my goodness, that is a LOT of food! Way to go!