Now that me, Chef Hubby, and the mutts are completely situated (and mostly unpacked) in the new house, Chef Hubby decided that we should host a dinner for our previous neighbor and my family to thank them for all the help they provided during the move. He wanted to make a nice, hearty fall meal: butternut squash soup with crusty bread, osso bucco with mushroom and asparagus risotto, and apple tartlets for dessert. He and baking don’t get along so well (something about having to measure ingredients) so I stepped up to take care of the bread and the tartlets.
Did I mention this dinner was supposed to take place on Halloween night? This year’s Halloween preparation was more hectic than usual because the move made it difficult to get all of my decorations and such together and now I had to have bread baked and dessert prepared! Eep! So here was the weekend lineup:
-Have furniture delivered so that we have a table to put the yummy food on and chairs to put the hungry family on.
-Decorate house: set up Simpsons themed graveyard, including tombs for Bleeding Gums Murphy and Maude Flanders; scatter bones and skulls; set up fog machine…
-Figure out exactly how to go about making the apple tarts. “I’ll just make mini versions of my apple pie,” I tell Chef Hubby. “Can you do something with goat cheese?” he replies. So I scour the net to steal someone’s recipe and find one for Apple, Goat Cheese and Honey Tartlets. Yay for my wallet! It doesn’t require me to buy tartlet forms!
-Go shopping and buy all of the stuff for making Sunday’s dinner.
-Bake bread. I used the Pane di Casa recipe provided by the Madonia Brothers Bakery in The Arthur Avenue Cookbook: Recipes and Memories from the Real Little Italy. This cookbook is awesome, but every time I open it up I feel a sudden craving for an old fashioned Italian ice and only DeLillo’s will cut it.
My bread could have baked for a little bit longer but my oven had different ideas. Or better yet, the other occupants of my oven had different ideas. Apparently, Chef Hubby and I left a broiler pan in there. A broiler pan that we had previously used to cook bacon… and forgot to wash. Our house filled up with so much smoke and it took us about 20 minutes after I put the bread in the oven to figure out why. I had to kill the heat and take my bread out early.
The offending bacon pan is still sitting outside in the yard. It is on a time-out for not reminding us to clean it.
-Prepare the puff pastry shells for the Tartlets.
-Start to make Tartlets.
– Realize I don’t have enough honey to make Apple, Goat Cheese, HONEY Tartlets and send Chef Hubby to the store.
-Finish making Tartlets.
-Go on a crazed hunt through Shop Rite, Rite Aid and the dollar store to find black nail polish and striped tights for my Halloween costume, because I am an idiot and threw all that stuff out while I was packing up the old house.
-Paint about a million kids faces from 2-4 pm at my local VFW’s Halloween Party. I’ve never painted so many skulls and crossbones in my entire life.
-Get a text message from Chef Hubby that Nilla (Queen Mutt) ate one of the tartlets while he wasn’t looking. Good thing I made 2 extra for just such an emergency.
-Run home, set up the final decorate-y items in the front yard.
-Be a gracious hostess by 5pm
-Greet Trick-or-Treaters from 6-8pm. I went through 2 big paper grocery bags FULL of Milky Ways, Starburst, Tootsie-Pops, M&Ms….
-Collapse onto the couch and eat leftover Milky Ways, Starburst, Tootsie-Pops, M&Ms….