All sorts of things can happen when you try to put a gathering together like Home Cooking Parties for Eight.With over one month of advanced notice, one of our couples failed to show up. In two years of doing these dinner parties, this was the first time this had ever happened.After waiting an extra half-hour for their arrival, I couldnt wait anymore.I drove to their house, and it was dark. No one was home! I dont know what happened to them, but we recovered quickly. My friend Kenny went on an emergency supermarket run, right after we checked our host couples cupboard for the missing ingredients. It was also a good thing Kenny had a cell phone with him, because after he left, we had to call him to say we forgot to put the sour cream on the emergency list. That is a critical part of the fabulous Honey-Thyme Glazed Ricotta Tart dessert!We got through to him before he had returned all the way home.He circled back and made the buy.This experience convinced me that you have to connect and confirm with everyone a day or two before one of these dinners.
The others in our merry group of cooks were working from the Home Cooking Parties for Eight Preparation Schedule even before I returned with the report that our fourth couple was definitely a no-show. Once Kenny returned with the missing goodies, we had no trouble covering the prep and cooking that was supposed to be done by the missing couple. Our first course of Turkish Lentil Soup with Mint Infused Sizzling Butter went on the table right on schedule. The whole group was completely won over before that. When Diane whipped the Toasted Baguettes with Sweet Peppers and Parmesan out of the oven for an opening snack, they were all whooping it up!
Missing cooks did not keep us from our plan of overeating that night. As we sipped Drambuie and Cognac and munched chocolate mint wafers at the end, this group was ready for another celebration from Home Cooking Parties for Eight, but we all agreed for waistline control it should be a few months down the road.Kenny immediately ran into his den and came out with the grilling cookbook that came with his new Weber Gas Grill, and asked if I could fashion a cooking party from the grill recipes. No problem, I said. I relished the idea. Oh boy, this could be fun, I thought, and so was born the Grilling from Beginning to End menu in this book.
Another very important lesson I learned from this night was that while we are organized in 2-person teams, one member of each team can handle most if not all of the workload.So if you wind up missing people or you have some dinner attendees that are just duds in the kitchen, it should not impact your ability to put each course on the table at the right time.For now, I hope you enjoy this scrumptious indoor meal flavored with so many delicious herbs and spices!