In less than four days, a hundred or so of our friends will drop in over the course of the afternoon and evening for a glass of wine, a plate or two of finger food and a chance to spend a bit of time together before the holiday season takes over. In it's sixth year, our annual open house has become what one guests affectionately calls "one of the highlights of the season". The regular guests know the drill and the newbies quickly catch on to the very simple rules:
1. We'll do the cooking. You don't need to bring anything.
1a. If you must ignore rule #1 ...a bottle of wine or some other libation would be lovely. but not necessary.
1b. Because of rule #1, it's critical that we know how many of you will be here. Running out of food is not cool. Neither is eating leftover meatballs on New Years Eve. (even if they don't suck with caramel sauce). So pl-EEEAA-se RSVP.
At not quite the 11th hour, we have 71 confirmed "yeses" and 44 on the "not yet responded" list. John's mission over the next 72 hours is to get commitments one way or the other from them.
MY mission over the next four days is threefold.
Cleaning. Lots of cleaning. But because we very strategically schedule this gathering, no decorating.
Last-minute menu planning.
The second two tasks appealing to my inner list-geek, and providing me with blog fodder.
First, the menu -- mostly a list of old standbys, with a couple of new things to try:
Cooking Light's Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin -- the most-requested recipe on our menu.
Dom's Mom's Meatballs (for the recipe and the story of the assembly, check back tomorrow)
Tyler Florence's Wild Mushroom Tartlets
Emeril's Crab & Wild Mushroom Cheescake
Everyone's favorite spinach-sour dough bread dip (we damn near had a riot the year we dropped this from the menu)
Alton Brown's Onion Dip and Fromage Fort.
Cooking Light's Hot Asiago Dip
An antipasto plate of assorted cheeses, meats and olives
Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Shortbread Cookies
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
Chocolate Stout Cake
Sliced apples & bananas with "Caramel Sin"
Peabody's Pumpkin Cheesecake
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