Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Potent Potables: The Goodbye Dinner

I'd like to say we spent all day working on this meal, but in reality it was more like a day and a half. Chad, Elizabeth, and I are getting really good at hosting dinner parties in our small kitchen, but even with all of our newly-acquired expertise we still had to start preparing ingredients and baking desserts the night before. We served a garden salad, bread and butter, celery and ranch, boneless chicken wings, American style beans (our British friends can't get enough of them), stuffed potato skins, vegetarian pizza, trifle, and Elizabeth's famous snickerdoodles. I think we did pretty well for ourselves, considering the space we have to work with isn't much bigger than the kitchens in Messiah's apartment dormitories. We even managed to find eight mis-matched coffee mugs to put our Coke in! Snazzy.

Elizabeth was good enough to give me her snickerdoodle recipe, so have at it!

½ cup each butter at room temperature (or even slightly liquidy but not fully)

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

Topping Mixture (put in a small cereal bowl or something similar & mix together)

3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 190 degrees CELSIUS (i converted for you)

Beat butter, sugar and eggs together until creamy. Add cream of
tartar, baking soda and salt, then blend. Add flour and mix well.

TIP: if the dough mixture seems too dry, just add a small spoonful (or
two) of water, but hopefully you wont need to do that.

The dough
should by slightly sticky in that it might stick a bit to your hands when rolling them into balls. Combine topping ingredients in small, shallow bowl. Shape dough into balls about an 1 inch in diameter. Drop dough balls into topping mixture and coat entire surface well. Place on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in oven for 8 minutes (check after 5 minutes just in case). Let
stand one minute and remove to cooling racks. It is very important to not overcook them if you want them to stay soft.

The cookies were a resounding success, but I'm 50/50 on the trifle; one of them set up perfectly and was delicious, and the other one turned soupy and looked like a sewage treatment facility. Well, no worries! There was still plenty of food to go around, and we ate leftovers for a day or two afterward. Please note the flowers on the table. For the past 3 months, I have been passing the stalls on the streets saying "Oh, I want flowers..." Well, it was our 'goodbye dinner,' so I got them!

We had our English friends - Joe, Diane, Max, and Matt - over for this delicious spread, and Diane got us all a wonderful going away present: customized calendars for 2009! They've got photos of all of us - our group on karaoke night, some of our photos from Prague, and even a few photos from other people's albums on Facebook - for each month. She put so much work into tracking all of those down, and we all really love them, so thanks! After dinner we all crammed into Chad's room for an evening of digestion, Saved, and YouTube.

On a side note, we would have hosted our dinner party this Friday - a bit closer to our actual 'last night' - but it's Chad's birthday, and he wanted to go out to Nando's for dinner. And really, it's probably a good thing we're not trying to cook on one of our last nights. This way we can sit back, relax, and blow through the last of our food stipend in style.

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