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Sunday, June 26, 2011
Once or twice a year, I like to invite a fun group of girlfriends over for a dinner party. Sometimes we are celebrating things, like a birthday or my “retirement” to become a stay at home mom, but most of the time, we are just getting together to spend some much needed girl time. My husband, C, refers to it as a “Cackle Fest”, as we can get quite boisterous as the night wears on. This generally results in dancing to a Britney Spears song or group singing to “Umbrella.” The parties are never dull and I am so fortunate to be able to share these parties with such an extraordinary group of friends. Some have been friends for years, others are new acquaintances, but by the end of the evening, we have formed a lasting circle of friends.
Last night nine of my friends gathered for just such an occasion. I had already sent out the invites (paper by snail mail) when Foodbuzz announced the date for June’s Foodbuzz 24x24, where 24 parties are held over 24 hours. I felt so lucky that it happened to be the same day as my scheduled party and even luckier when I was selected to participate. I had already come up with a menu that was Latin inspired; I wanted the flavors to be bold and exciting. I set out to the local flower shops to find the brightest blooms I could find and I programmed the computer to play Buena Vista Social Club, Gypsy Kings and the like. One of my most favorite details was the charger menus. I had seen the idea on Pinterest and I ran with it. It was such a nice way to decorate the table without being too fussy.
The girls were greeted with sparkling Sangria, a recipe from Michael Chiarello. The drinks were fruity and strong, the right way to start a party. I had three appetizers out for everyone to eat while the other guests were still arriving; we are women, you know not everyone is going to be on time. I had prepared corn blinis with Chipotle cream, cantaloupe wrapped with Serrano ham, and short rib empanadas with avocado cream. Look for the recipes in the coming week.
The first course at the dining table was a fresh garden tomato salad topped with cilantro pesto paired with an Argentinean Malbec. The main course was Tequila lime chicken and shrimp, roasted in the oven for entertaining ease and paired with couscous and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash paired with a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. For dessert, slices of chocolate raspberry cake were passed around with glasses of champagne. After all that eating and drinking, we had reached “Cackle Fest” levels, so it was time to head upstairs to the rooftop to talk, talk, and talk some more. This was truly a delicious and delightful gathering of girlfriends.