So I make the spiced pumpkin soup no problem (recipe below) and then move onto cake. Greg's mom said all she wanted was chocolate cake..so I gave it to her....a flourless chocolate cake that is so rich it makes your face sweat...I prepare the cake and let it bake...it is gorgeous coming out of the oven...looks like a huge soufle..raised about an inch above the pan....beautiful! I then let it sit so that it can fall and crack while I take the dogs out.....Get back 20 minutes later and find that the darn thing isn't cooked all the way through...back it goes in the oven for about 20 minutes longer than usual for some reason...take it out and let it sit again...turn it over and the cake just falls apart :-( I'm crushed. So, I guess its time to make that chocolate glaze to glue the darn thing back together again.....it works to some extent, but the beautiful cake I envisioned looks a bit lok a lopsided leaky tire.
We are getting ready for guests and have about 1/2 hour to go when Greg comes downstairs stark naked and says that something is wrong with the shower. Meanwhile I've noticed that the Doc and his wife have pulled up and are walking up the front steps while Greg is standing there in all his glory in full view. (They say they didn't see him streak through the house, but how could they not) Early party guests are hard to take, especially since I wasn't ready...no shoes on and no h'ors d'oeuvres available. So they come in and comment with dismay at the dining table saying (We're your only guests?) They ask for Vodkas and ice and I go into the kitchen only to find that we have enough of both for just two drinks! Ahhhhggghhhh. Greg is still primping upstairs. The doc goes to pet one of our large dogs and Sebastian growls at him (we have this reputation for our large black mean dogs who are sweet as can be as long as guest don't look at them!). Greg finally comes down and I pop off to the mobil station for cheap vodka and ice, forgetting of course to put the sausage in puff pastry in the oven . When I return, the appetizers go in and start to brown. No sign of the birthday girl yet (Greg's parents show up about 1/2 hour late) I get impatient with the sausage and put the broiler on to brown them....get the picture about what happens here? I can carbon date the tops of these tasty suckers when I remember about them 10 minutes later........Greg saves the day by cutting the tops off and making sausage cups sprinkled with cheese and tomato...great save!
meanwhile Greg's mom and dad show up the first thing she says to me is that she wished we'd told her to dress up! I can't believe how unorganized I am...The pork roast doesn't cook fast enough so by the time the soup is heated and eaten (delicious reviews all around) the pork is not even close to being cooked......While I'm frantically cutting the roast into strips and throwing it in the microwave to cook...Greg's diningroom chair breaks and he falls to the floor.......way to impress the guests!
The pork comes out of the microwave and some pieces are a bit dry, but the whole thing is tasteless because I made the mistake of experimenting with the cooking process by throwing them in the cast iron covered pot in the oven. While I'm trying to whip up an orange sweet and sour sauce to go over top of the pork, Greg's Mom yells in from the other room "Tom, Come sit down" Then I hear "Who's Tom?" Tom was Greg's previous partner (5 years ago) So I choose to ignore the whole thing, but hear Greg explaining who Tom is.
Needless to say...I spilled the beans over coffee and dessert that I felt like Jack Tripper in Three's Company when he tries to impress investors in a new restaurant idea and just blows the whole evening...everyone said that they didn't notice a thing!
Spiced Pumkin Soup
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped carrot
3/4 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped ripe banana
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups canned pure pumpkin
3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon yellow curry powder
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot and next 6 ingredients and sauté until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Transfer mixture to processor and blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot. Add broth and all remaining ingredients. Boil soup over medium-high heat 15 minutes to blend flavors. Cool slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate.)
Bring soup to simmer. Divide among 8 bowls. I add a dollop of plain yogurt for contrast
Makes 8 servings.
Savory Sausage Puffs
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 clove minced garlic or more
1 roll Jimmy Dean 50% lean ground sausage
fresh sage or thyme
pinch of ground red pepper
salt pepper to taste
sheet puff pastry
sautee onions and garlic in olive oil and add sausage and spices. cook until done and then let cool (pressed for time? Put pot in refrigerator while you prepare the pastry. )
Thaw one sheet of pastry and roll out on board until nice and thin. Cut into 2" squares and fill each with a spoonful of sausage, wrapping the corners over the top to seal. place seam side down on cookie sheets and bake until golden brown. Let sit for a few minutes to cool and serve.