Lee and I decided that if you can define the success of a dinner party by the number of dishes you dirty in order to throw it, then ours was definitely a success! I took a picture of the madness but Lee asked that I not post it on the blog. Believe me, I was tempted but decided it wasn't worth it since he SPECIFICALLY asked me not to post it as I was taking the picture. Therefore you'll just have to envision piles of dishes overflowing from the sink, the counter around it and the dinner table. Thank goodness Lee & I make such a good team! Forty-five minutes after our dinner guests waddled away from the table, the dishes were clean (albeit not all put away) and our house was somewhat put back together. I can't tell you the last time we were so bone tired -- guess that tells you just how out of practice we are at entertaining! Not only did the preparation consume our day on Sunday but we needed pretty much the entire day yesterday to recover (Lee even took an hour and a half nap!) Pretty pathetic, don't you think? The good news is that by having these "practice" dinner parties, we should be up to speed in a few months. Our next soiree is set for December 9 (we're at Colin & Sarah's for November's festivities) and I can already feel my creative juices salivating at the thought of a new theme, etc.
The original thought of Sarah's for these dinner parties was to have them for just the four of us but I got a "wild hair" at September's Bunko to invite our friend Amy (my Make-A-Wish partner). I figured cooking for five would be just about the same as four and knew it would be fun to have them all over. A lot of craziness ensued in the day before and day of the party and it turned out that Amy wasn't going to be able to make it. Luckily for us, at the last minute her prior commitment canceled and she was able to join us after all (note: the pictures of the table setting below only show four place settings since they were taken before we found out she was able to make it).
Here's how our front porch looked to our arriving guests...
Not sure why but I love, love, LOVE this picture! I'm not sure if it's because I like how that orange touches pop against the black tablecloth, the cool idea I found for placemats (scrapbook paper) or my centerpiece of votive candles surrounded by candy corn. Either way, I'm in love with this picture and I hope you are too! (Remember, if you want to see the picture bigger all you have to do is click on it!)
Although things didn't turn out as perfectly as we'd hoped, everyone had a fantastic time! We ate dinner about 30 minutes after we'd hope to due to a beef tenderloin that wanted to take a bit longer to cook than the recipe called for. Since our oven is a bit dirty and we were cooking it at such a high temperature (500 degrees), each time Lee opened the oven to check the internal temp of the meat, smoke came pouring out in droves (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture). As you all know, we have extremely touchy and temperamental smoke detectors so, of course, they decided to start beeping and blaring each time it oven door was opened. Thank goodness we have such good friends in Colin & Sarah (Amy wasn't there yet)...they acted like it was nothing out of the ordinary and Colin even took a turn at waving the smoke away from the detector with a towel. Needless to say, Lee and I were thrilled when the tenderloin was ready to be served!
Dinner was fantastic! The beef tenderloin was quite yummy and the "Henry Bain" sauce that went with it was divine! The twice baked potatoes were even better than I'd imagined and the green beans were really good also. The filling for the potatoes was so good that I decided that would be our new recipe for mashed potatoes. It had cayenne pepper in it and made the potatoes taste amazing!! Of course we all ate way too much and then topped it off with a big piece of the maple spice cake. Yum!! Everyone seemed to like it (although I thought it was a touch too dry) and they all thoroughly loved getting a Halloween "take out" box filled with candy corn cookies to take home. Although our first dinner party didn't exactly go off without a "hitch," it went extremely well and the "hitches" just made the memories all that more special!
(NOTE: Sorry I didn't get any pictures of the food but in the mayhem of meat not cooking fast enough and the smoke filled kitchen, there's just wasn't time once it was ready.)