I have a great group of friends. We have a lot of fun together. Some of our best times are when we get together every month for a cooking party. The original idea came from my mom. My parents are part of a group of friends that do a Progressive Dinner where they walk to each other’s homes for each course. Sounds great…love the idea…big problem here. My friends and I don’t live within reasonable walking distance of each other. So a little bit of tweaking to the progressive dinner idea and our cooking party was born. We all get together at my house, we each prepare and cook a dish for everyone while teaching the rest of the group how to make the dish. We provide recipes for everyone and we eat…and we drink…each party has a signature cocktail which balances with the theme of the month. And then we eat…and drink some more. And all of our kids play upstairs and have a great time doing it. Depending on the success of the signature cocktail, the last person to prepare their dish doesn’t get the same focused attention but we don’t mind because we are all together, having fun and laughing and enjoying the company. And that last cook is lucky if their dish gets consumed because our bellies get full…but we don’t mind.
Last month’s theme was Mexican food. And we all prepared enough to feed an army. We prepared enough food that we SHOULD HAVE walked from house to house to burn it all off. A nice 35 mile walk could have done us all some good.
By the middle of the party, we were all thoroughly enjoying the themed cocktail of the month…mango margaritas and complaining of overly stuffed bellies. That was about the time that it was my turn. I had signed up for corn on the cob with habanero mango butter. Coincidentally this party was on the same evening that Nik Wallenda was crossing the Grand Canyon on live t.v.. So not only was everyone a wee bit tipsy and groaning about full bellies, they also had their eyes glued to the television. I don’t think a single person actually saw my preparation. But I didn’t mind..I had a house full of my closest friends, I had a house full of giggling kids upstairs and I had my margarita. And to be honest, corn in Southern California is seriously lacking that good ol’ Midwestern quality and the habanero mango butter left a lot to be desired.
We did have some amazing dishes and one hell of a fabulous margarita that night. All-in-all, it was a giant success and a tradition amongst friends was born. To give credit to my amazing friends that are all pretty damn good cooks, here are the dishes that were prepared and thoroughly enjoyed at the Mexican themed cooking party:
Our friends, Michele and Bryan, made Mango Margaritas
Our friends, Sean and Jean, made Southwestern Egg-rolls
Our friends, Pete and Evelyn, made Chicken Verde Enchiladas
I made Roasted Corn on the Cob with Mango-Habanero Butter
The theme of this month is Asian. I’ve signed up for Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps and Fortune Cookies….both of which I’ve already made to be sure I would not be embarrassing myself and both of which got a huge thumbs up from my guinea pigs (a.k.a. hubby and kids). The fortune cookies are quite a task…I’ll be posting about those soon. The themed cocktail is a Pear Martini and there was also some talk about a sake bomb or two. Should be another stellar night. I’ll be in touch after the cocktails wear off. Happy Cooking!