Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wine on the Roof - Rain and Success!

So it rained... but all 30 people on the roof fit under the awning and seemingly had a fantastic time.

We had just enough food... which everyone praised (and made my night in doing so), the 30 some-odd bottles of wine flowed freely and the birthday girl left smiling and tipsy. My much anticipated guest ... the ex ... the one who I recently and briefly believed could still be THE love attended and spent most of the evening talking to a girl he somehow knew because DC is a very small town. And finally after 3 years of being broken up - it didn't bother me.

This party mixed the old with the new ... and the old and the new. The ex has finally become a friend and will stay that... a friend has possibly become the new but I'm in no hurry to get there for once. The old tried and true friends mingled with the new friends from work and then their friends after that... we are finally maturing and stepping out of our safe friend zones to meet the new and realizing that no, it doesn't make us total douchebags to be social (just sorta yuppies).

The wine guy came about an hour and a half late because clearly he has never traveled to DC before in his 5+ years of running tastings in the DC Metro area ... but the bright side of that was that we all got drunk before he arrived. The wines we tasted were nothing special - but that could also be because we had all killed our pallets before his arrival. People purchased wine.. people made fun of wine guy ... people were reprimanded by wine guy... all sorts of amusements.

The food was a hit (yay for my ability to adapt/improve recipes from foodandwine.come and The highlights were the Scallop Ceviche and the two pizzas (Recipes below the photos). While the menu was not exactly complimentary (ceviche before an array of italian dishes?) somehow it worked very nicely with the wines. Annah and I, the two fabulously dressed hostesses, delivered easy to hold and eat delights as the wine guy described (sometimes in painful detail) each wine.

The party was an overall success... people left tipsy and smiling and complimenting us on a job well done. My party style is more relaxed and prepared ... less drunk and more focused on guests ... less anxious to get somewhere and happier to pause, look around and enjoy. Swirl that wine baby.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wine on the Roof

Tonight I am throwing a yuppy wine tasting party on my roof. One of my new girlfriends and I have been planning this for quite some time and today is finally the day. To our surprise and slightly crazed shock almost everyone we invited plans to attend. We are over capacity for both the "wine guy" who is coming to teach us all about five lovely wines he has picked as well as for my building's roof policies.

Party planning happens to be one of my favorite things to do. I am a natural born event planner in my professional and personal lives. I am one of those people who thrive on the stress of a 50% chance of rain on game day (as we are dealing with today.....). In college we had a perfect party house so we threw numerous swanky (and not so swanky) evening soirées. My party style has, naturally, evolved from kegs and pretzels to cocktails and 4 course carefully planned menus... from drunk sorority girl to ... drunk yuppy 20-something. At least now the food is better.

More after it doesn't rain and the party is a fantastic success....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New Toy

I broke down yesterday and bought a Cuisinart Immersion Blender - ignoring the little voice in my head yelling save! save! save! Its not that these fun tools are particularly expensive... its that I already own a Cuisinart Mini Prep (small food processor), a hand held dual head egg beater thing, AND a normal run of the mill blender. I could make soup for an army brigade.

My first project with the new blender was to make a light tomato sauce. It turned out pretty well considering I made it in about 30 minutes. I threw it all together and ran to the gym for an hour and a half or so... unfortunately when i got back the pasta has soaked up too much of the sauce ... loosing the nice soupy texture .. but it was still quite delicious.

I took my favorite le crusette pot and heated olive oil. I added two cloves of garlic and a good hefty pinch of red pepper flakes and cooked them over moderately high heat until my kitchen smelled amazing. Then i added diced shallots and cook those down until soft. At some point in here i decided to add balsamic vinegar to get it a bit more rich. And then came the tomatoes. I added 3 large diced locally grown heirloom tomatoes that i got from my fresh produce delivery service (

I let all of this cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once the tomatoes break down and become mushy you can puree the mix with the blender... I waited a bit longer and added fresh oregano and dried basil (oregano seems to grow well indoors - basil, sadly, does not) and salt and pepper. After some tastes, some sugar proved necessary as well. I tried to puree the sauce right in the le crusette but there wasn't enough sauce to fully immerse the blender and i now have tomato sauce all over the walls.

Once it was all blended I cooked it a little bit longer. I should have served it immediately with a little fresh parm but the gym got in the way ... also, an obvious tip that somehow evaded me: store the sauce separate from the noodles. My leftovers today were too dry!