Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mad Open House Preparations

Well, my annual shebang is this weekend, and I'm so low energy, I don't know how I'm going to deal with house cleaning, cooking, etc. Thank heavens for the guys in my life who schlep for me, prep for me, assure me that I'm not so old, even though I feel it.

I remember entertaining tons when I was younger (Remember those brunches I'd have out in Allston where I'd invite 100 people, and half that amount would show up to cram themselves into my studio? Funny that they'd keep coming back, cramped as it would be.)

Nowadays, I do a sort of open house thing. I've found that people will show up in shifts, and there are never so many people that there aren't enough seats to accomodate them. It's a nice setup.

Anyway, I figured I'd bake a couple pumpkin breads, a couple banana breads. Have the usual crudités (or crud-ites, depending on what side of the Atlantic you're on). I picked up a Panneton peruiano from the bodega down the street from me. Some carrot soup as a warm thing, a cheese plate (bien sûr que oui!) and lots of chips, pretzels, salsa and dips. To drink: light egg-nog, coffee, tea, soda, seltzer, beer (we get the cheap stuff in the recyclable bah bottles - last year was Schaffer with the rebuses under the caps - was quite the hit. Especially when more than one guest serenaded us with the old jingle. Couldn't find it this year, so are getting all Wagnerian on the guests' a$$es n' sh!t with Rheingold. I'd like to make my Christmas Wreath cookies (like rice krispie treats, only with cornflakes) and maybe some gingersnaps (Yankee Magazine's recipe), but won't if I don't have time. I will most definitely have some nice dips to go with the chips and breads, however. Can't have a party without homemade hummus (canned chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, CUMIN! to taste, all blended together),


2 cans black olives (drained)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T olive oil
(Pine nuts if desired. I usually leave them out, as they are darn expensive, and you never know who's allergic to them.)

Chop up one can of the olives, set aside. In a food processor or blender, whirl the rest of the olives with the olive oil until the mixture is more-or-less smooth. Stir in the chopped olives.

Serve with crackers or pita wedges.

and this really wonderful Black Bean Dip (from the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home cookbook - my favorite of their books, by the way):

1 16 oz can (drained) black beans
1t cumin
1/2t ground coriander
pinch cayenne
(pinch berbere - Ethiopian red pepper. It's my secret ingredient.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
1t olive oil
2 t fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

1/2 c chopped toasted walnuts
2T minced green olives

Drain the beans, place hem in a shallow bowl, and mash them well with a fork. Stir in the cumin, coriander, cayenne (bebere), garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Add salt to taste. If you add the walnuts and/or olives, either stir them into the dip or sprinkle them on top as a garnish.

Again, great with pita bread, crackers or crudités. Also - good either warm or cold.

Should be good. It's more about seeing friends who I don't get to visit with more than a few times a year than whatever can be served up. Gosh, I'm looking forward to this, now that I've 'talked it up' a bit here.

Happy Holidays!

(Who would have thought that one of the nicest images of lights for the darkest time of the year would be an image of divas from a British life coaching website? Amazing.)


Thanks again to the Carnival for linking to my half-baked recipe ramble!

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