Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Literary Dinner

I started this post over a year ago. This is actually a party we threw in the spring of 2010.  But I never got around to finishing it and since I can't remember any other details of the evening, I'm just going to post as is!  And try to be better about completing my drafts in the future.


Last night we had four other couples over for a 'literary' dinner.  I asked everyone to bring a recent favorite book or an all-time favorite book or any book at all.

Originially I wanted to use iron-on transfers and print food quotes from novels onto some white napkins I never use.  But when I went to get the napkins out, I discovered I didn't have enough.  So I ended up making bookmarks that the guests could take home.

I also made a floral arrangement using pages from an old book wrapped around the vase, as well as leaves made from pages from the same book.

Along with this menu, we also had stuffed mushroom and a roasted red pepper dip with bruchetta that some of the guests brought for appetizers.

All in all, it was a really fun evening.  Recipes below.

Guava-Smoked Meatloaf
In a large bowl, lightly beat 3 eggs.  Add worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, salt, pepper, minced garlic, onions that have been sauteed, and any spices you like.  I typically use thyme, oregano, marjoram, and parsley.  If you're going to make a free form meatloaf and cook it on a pan, continue on to the meat part.  If you're going to put it in meatloaf pans, add 1/3 to 1/2 can beef  consomme.

After all that is mixed together, add 3# ground beef (half of which should be ground chuck) and mix together with your hands.

Pat into 2 or 3 small tinfoil meatloaf pans.  Poke holes in the bottom.  (Or you can just make a big mound and put it on a rack on a pan, if you're going to cook it in the oven.  But if you don't want to use the little tin meatloaf pans, leaf out the consomme because it'll be too wet to hold its shape.)

I cook these on our Big Green Egg bbq indirect (platesetter) at about 300 to 325.  I use guava wood to add a little smoked flavor.  I purchased the guava wood a long time ago from Guava Greg on the BGE forum. I haven't seen him there in a long time.  After one hour, I turn the meatloaf out of the pans onto the grill.  I continue cooking them until they read 155 or just under on my Thermapen thermometer.

Crash Potatoes
There are recipes all over the internet for these potatoes.  I used the one from The Pioneer Woman.

Roasted Broccoli
I just threw some broccoli in the roasting pan, drizzled a little olive oil over it, and roasted til it was starting to turn that nice dark roasty color.

Grilled Asparagus with Pancetta
This one is easy peasy and oh so good.  Peel and trim your asparagus, toss with olive oil and fresh ground pepper.  Then wrap them with pieces of pancetta, and grill on the bbq. Grill over direct heat cooking anywhere between 350 and 400, turning until pancetta is golden brown in spots and the asparagus is crisp-tender.  It doesn't take very long and it needs to be watched so it doesn't burn.

8-Hour Cheesecake
I'm going to save the cheesecake recipe for another post.  I make Maida Heatther's 8-Hour Cheesecake, mainly because it's so easy to do with the Aga, comes out super creamy, does not have to be refrigerated, thus freeing up room in the fridge (although it can be, it just changes the texture), and is crustless, since I'm not a huge fan of graham cracker crusts paired with cheesecake.  If you can't wait for me to post later about this, this recipe can easily be found on the 'net.


Jennifer said...

So, what books did guests bring and discuss?

Gwen said...

It was so long ago, I can't remember! :(

I 'brought' The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Jim's was one of Mark Twain's books.