Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dinner the First

You can call me Cakes. That's what my husband, CPM, calls me. It has nothing to do with the fact that I love to bake (which I do), and everything to do with my ample posterior. Cakes. You get it. I'm okay with the name. I love it even. It has become very "me."

This is the story of this blog, from my perspective...Jaime will pop in and put up her side of the story soon!

A long, long time ago (actually, closer to 4 years), in a galaxy far away (okay, so it was a sort of distant suburban county), lived two of my friends. Because they lived so far from my husband and I (almost an hour by car, on a good traffic day), and we socialized so infrequently due to this distance, Jaime and I developed the idea of monthly Saturday evening dinners. We would alternate houses. The home base house would prepare dinner, the visiting house would prepare dessert. This worked fabulously for a time. Then, for some reason, we stopped doing it. I'm not even sure why. I don't remember.

Well, we're back. Things have changed--for the better. My distant friends now live a hop, skip, and jump away from me in the great NE. They are parents now, which is awesome. But, now we have a new twist to make just "hanging out" a challenge: child care! Scheduled monthly dinners are the way to go in this scenario.

Entry the First...

Jaime didn't give me any rules when she developed this blog, which is both a blessing and a curse. I am a very rules oriented person. I follow instructions, I like boundaries, I like control. This easy breezy "post whatever you want" is just going to get me into trouble, I know it! Oh well, here goes!

My menu development for our first dinner went something like this. I asked myself, what does Jaime always say she wants to try of mine, that she won't make for herself? (Jaime is like my other spouse. I have realized that I want to make her happy with my food, just as I do with CPM.) Then I ask, what will her very picky husband actually eat? That's how I decided upon a combination of sorts: my seitan roast (which Jaime's husband wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole), a red pepper risotto that is pretty simple tasting (so hopefully good for Joe to eat), and a stuffed mushroom appetizer (just because I like to torment myself with complicated food prep when I have tons of other crap to do). This was a comfort food laden menu, which was appropriate, given that the outside temperature hovered below freezing.

In addition, Jaime and I upped the ante on ourselves. Due to a scheduling snafu (aka stomach virus), her Mad Men themed holiday cookie exchange party had been canceled the month before our dinner. We had made dresses to wear for this party...thus, we decided that our first dinner would become the replacement Mad Men themed event. I guess we should have notified our respective spouses of this fact...when I started blasting oldies to set the mood on the evening of the dinner, CPM made unhappy faces. (Yes, he bears a heavy cross, that spouse of mine.) Still, I got to wear my pretty awesome dress for a few hours, so that was fun!

Do you want to see some pictures and some links to some recipes? Okay, then. I apologize for the crappy lighting. I'm working on my camera skills. I also hate using a flash, but my fastest lens still isn't fast enough for indoor winter lighting (a situation soon to be rectified). I end up deleting most of my shots.

Thus, you can see an old picture of a previous seitan roast, since I make this meal pretty regularly:
Layer 4 and done

The fancy stuffed mushrooms (recipe here):

A previous incarnation of the red pepper risotto (recipe here):
Red Pepper Risotto

Jaime brought an incredible pineapple upside down cake for dessert. I ate two pieces. CPM ate three. I found myself using my fork to scrape the brown sugary goodness from the cake plate. Classy, I know. I also didn't get a photo before we devoured it. I think Jaime has one, though. Maybe she'll share.