Let's get to my favorite part of any party, the menu. There were a few things to keep in mind when planning dinner. First, we live in a small apartment with no dining room table and no overabundance of seating. So we needed food that, worst-case scenario, could be eaten while standing. Second, most of our guests were law students, and it's their first week of finals. Since they'd be stopping by for little more than a quick break, we could not serve anything too fancy or time-consuming to eat. Finally, the food had to be somewhat tied to our theme of the Grinch.
So for dinner, we had: “Roast Beast” Sandwiches (roast beef, blue cheese spread, arugula and butter on 9-grain bread), “Who Pudding” (corn pudding, from Angie's recipe repertoire), Mixed Greens (with pear vinaigrette, pears and toasted hazelnuts), and Hot Apple Cider.
This was as easy to prepare as it was to eat. I made the blue cheese spread and pear vinaigrette the day before the party. I also toasted the hazelnuts and washed all my greens in advance.
An hour before party time, I threw the corn pudding in the oven, assembled sandwiches and wrapped them in parchment, and combined my salad ingredients. Easy.
For dessert, guests chose from: Birthday cake (white cake with white chocolate frosting), Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate chip cookies, Ginger chocolate chunk cookies, Candies (chocolates, M&M’s and candy canes), and Clementines. Two desserts for every savory item—my mom would be proud.
While dessert is kind of my forte, I was a worried about making a three-tiered cake, this being my first try. It came out great (except for my writing on the top, which was horrendous), and I came out of the experience with some tips: First, it is much easier to assemble and frost cake layers when they are cold. I made mine a week in advance, froze them, then set them out an hour before I frosted. Second, all is not lost if your layers are not uniform and perfect. I used disposable aluminum cake pans that screwed my layers up—thin on one side and fat on the other. To fix such a problem, while the layers are still frozen, stack them to compensate for one another—thin side of one layer under thick side of the other, etc. Then when you unwrap the frozen layers and stack them with frosting in between, keep them lined up the same way. If you're lucky, the finished cake will look perfectly straight, and even a slice of it won't give away the layers' flaws.
Wow, I could go on and on about food. But that's plenty of blogging for one day. Check out the final Grinch-party installment tomorrow. This is getting fun.