greg (grysar) wrote,

Dinner Party

I had fun tonight hosting my farewell to commons Mexican dinner party, I only managed to do half the clean-up but I'm still exhausted and am about to go to sleep. These things are a lot of fun but there is a reason I only do them every month or two. I also need to plan ahead more, I give myself about the same amount of prep time as for four or five person dinners, which are a good bit easier. Doubling portions isn't hard, but some parts of preparation can be, and even in a house thirteen guests can get a bit crowded.

Tonight's dishes:

Possibilities cut for lack of time and hunger:
vegetable burritos and cheese enchilada

Lemonade Ice Cream Pie, recipe recommended doing it the day before, I didn't plan that far ahead and ended up with a pie that wouldn't freeze in time.

Steak Fajitas, these were so-so, I ran out of flour tortillas and the smaller corn ones didn't work
Quesadilas, I should have dropped these sooner,. I kept with them a bit after people lost the taste for them. Coby pointed out that, as with the last time I used the recipe, they were under-filled. I can see his point, though I don't particularly mind an under filled quesadila. Nonetheless, particularly when preparing for a big group, fewer stuffed quesadillas beat many light ones.

Taco Salad, nothing special really, would have been far cooler if I could have gotten a bunch of mini-taco bowls but I couldn't find any in the grocery stores. Crushed chips are not the same.
Dirty Rice, I didn't have all the rice the recipe called for, and I realize that too late. Fortunately, I think it still came out all right. Need to work on my Mexican rice in the future though, I grew up liking it, so I should have it in my repertoire.
Vegetarian Tacos, I like how these came out, but the mini taco shells were way too mini, so while the fixings were fine, people didn't have enough taco to put them in.
Homemade salsa, my mother's recipe is better, but I couldn't find it, these turned out fairly well even so.

Nachos, these got gobbled up, they take some work though, it'll take a good bit of practice to get down to the five minute prep time that the recipe claims.

General lessons:
1. Maybe I should stop experimenting at these things, and try the recipes first in a smaller setting. I do love experimentation, but at least half of what I deal with seems to dramatically over or under estimate the need for at least one key ingredient. Perhaps I should limit myself to one or two new dishes, with a stocked pantry and more time to adjust I could then better deal with unexpected developments.

2. Clean the house and buy ingredients the day before, leaves more cooking and hosting time.

3. Up the percentage of work that can be done in advance; to do this I'll need to intentionally pick my dishes in such a way as to limit the work that needs to be done during the party or in the hour beforehand.

4. Working on my knife skills; I'm not satisfied with my speed at this point, practice will help, but better technique and knowing my tools better is probably more important.

5. Mixed groups of friends are nice, but getting disparate groups to play together requires a fair number of intergroup connections or more host time. Unfortunately, host time is hard to come by when cooking.

Now to bed, fun is fun, but I still need to have the house cleaned before I pick my parents up from the airport tomorrow at 9:30 am.
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