Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Aftermath

Here's the aftermath of last weekend.


Can you guess what happened here? We hosted a graduation party for our son and by all accounts it was a great success. The weather was gorgeous! No rain, no tornados, just a beautiful sunny day.

The young-uns played volleyball and the rest of us watched from a shady spot. Our daughter made the 2 hour drive to be here and then had to turn around and drive back home. Sigh. There was plenty of food and just one hitch in the plans.

Years ago I had a friend who was a bit older than myself and a fabulous hostess. She set the bar very high. She gave me her best secret - organization and preparation. Those two things make all the difference in hosting a success event, whatever it may be.

Early in the week I gather up all the serving pieces and mentally map things out. This small dish and fork are for the pickles, this large basked for the buns, etc. The food was a little bit of a puzzle this time around because I was cooking for a larger crowd - 36-40 people. I check charts online that estimated meat per pound per person and such but in the end I just trusted my instincts.

Regardless of how packed the fridge looks, there wasn't a ton of leftovers seeing as how I had three beef briskets, a VERY large pan of hash brown casserole and salad for an army. My sister and sister-in-law thankfully lightened my load by bringing the desserts. Thank goodness for them.

The hitch? The barbecue beans were progressing along just fine in the oven, getting hot and entering into the bubbling zone but the hash brown casserole was still tepid. I had allowed the whole thing to sit out in advance so that the potatoes could defrost before baking but still the pan was large. Perhaps it would have worked better to bake it in two smaller pans.

I ran into the other room and spotted my sister.


She came to the rescue and we figured out a solution. Moms have to be McGuyver's you know.

We scooped out the contents of the pan into two large bowls and heated the mixure in the microwave, returned it to the pan and it finished baking along with beans and they turned out fine. In fact, they were downright delicious.

The hit of the day? Cowboy caviar!! It's a black bean appetizer that's served with torilla chips.

Here's the recipe:


2 cans black beans, drain off a little bit of the liquid
1 can corn, drained
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
cilantro, chopped (amount to taste)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped


1/2 cup basalmic vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
2 TBSP. sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the first six ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the dressing and mix well until the sugar dissolves. Pour over the bean mixture and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to combine.


Can you believe I have NO pictures of the party? I was too busy dealing with potato emergencies!


Becky K. said...

It is great to have a go to friend when these minor issues arise. Sounds like you did a great job and everyone had a wonderful time. The menu sounds awesome!

bv said...

happy coasters! thank you so much for the darling coasters suzanne! i love them and they look like you peered into my home and then picked them for me. my first win of anything! i will think fondly of you everytime my drink doesn't drip all over me. they are little jewels
bv x&o

Terri said...

Sounds like a wonderful party... and just so the graduate had a good time, that's all that matters, really. I enjoyed hearing about it! (And now it's over and you can relax!)
Did I miss how your flooring came out? Is all back in place?

Debbie said...

I'm so glad you worked out that wrinkle. Sounds divine. I copied down your recipe and surprised I never had this, being born and raised in Texas and dating many cowboys. They never offered me any of this.
My husband could only wish our fridge looked like yours right now. Oh, what I'd give for some good briskit!

Lisa D. said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. I love having big get togethers, and I agree - planning and preparation; and then go with the flow and be flexible when plans go awry somehow :)

Vee said...

What a full fridge! Hope that your family makes it down through all those leftovers. Did your sister take off with all the sweets? Sounds like a great way to honor your graduate; he must have been pleased with all your efforts on his behalf.

lifeinredshoes said...

In the early days I so wanted to have people over but was scared to death! Then I read a few pointers, like the ones you did, PREPARE, PLAN, ORGANIZE....do as much as you can ahead of time, works like a charm:)
Now, about those damn potatoes. I've had the same problem, and solved it the same way. Now I cook them at 300 degrees for 2 or 3 days ;)
And a big high 5 to your son!

Leslie T. said...

Wow, you're amazing! Cooking for that many people has got to be a challenge. I haven't done that since I was a young and perky thing. Now I'm old and befuddled and I usually top out at about 15 guests and feel like that's a crowd.
It sounds like a very fun event. Congrats to your son!

LDF said...

I "heart" Cowboy Caviar! We quite often pitch in together and make it here in the office for staff lunches. Thank goodness for MacGyver Moms and microwaves!

Paula Jo @ Outdoor Garden Decor said...

Beside the panic attack, it sounds like everything turned out fine. I would be the same way. Thanks for the recipe. I'm going to have to try it. You have a great blog, and I'm looking forward to reading more, and leaving comments.