Monday, March 21, 2011
notes to the harried hostess
Get veggies for tomorrow's salad lunch party. Tomatoes, jicama, pipinas, avocados, beets, carrots, lettuce, and especially spinach.
What? No spinach? Why is it when "spinach" is at the top of your shopping list, there is no spinach to be found. Anywhere. My verdura stall always has spinach ~ big fresh bunches of young, tender leaf spinach ~ but not today. What to do? I scoured the market and finally found one stall with one slightly wilted and over-priced bunch.
Moving on to the grape tomato lady so the guests can have the pleasure of these little gems. Hoy, no hay. What? Well, perhaps the gods of salad lunches are telling me something.
Look for some nice ripe strawberries. Oh my, they were in great abundance. I found the stall where Chuy buys hers. A sure sign of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Bought a kilo for 12 pesos (less than $1). Mr. C will make strawberry ice cream for dessert for my guests.
Get busy preparing all this food for tomorrow's party. This will include peeling, chopping, dicing, slicing, poaching, boiling, shelling. OK, I can do this with my favorite helpers. Here they are, bless them!
This one's French and Lord help the person who gets between me and my Cuisinart.
This little gizmo was advertised on TV several years ago. I bought it and I absolutely swear by it. It makes a dynamite salsa in about 5 minutes. Dices like a dream.
Note # 4:P
Prepare protein for luncheon. Poach chicken breasts. Boil eggs for those guests who don't eat meat. Put together bean salad. See previous sentence. Another addition in the protein category is shrimp. I purchased it this morning from Dago's father-in-law at his fish market in Armeria. One and a half kilos of shrimp. I boiled up two pans of water with a pinch of salt, divided the shrimp and tossed them in the pots and boiled them for 1 minute. Not quite done, so another 30 seconds. No, not yet. Another 30 seconds and they were absolutely perfect.
Just as sweet and tender as the shrimp Dago serves at his puesto.
Get chairs and tables set up on the 3rd floor. Put together all the plates, flatware, glasses, linens, etc. Borrow what you don't have. Prepare strawberries for ice cream and for garnishes. So Mr. C and I hauled a couple of tables and some chairs upstairs. He, meanwhile, had taken down the hammock and the swinging chair and stashed them away. Fernando is bringing more tables and chairs up from his puesto in the morning. I'll put the colorful tablecloths on Fernando's trusty beach tables and try to disguise them as best I can. The last touches will be to put the flowers on the tables, be sure the salt and pepper are on each table, the glasses are sparkling, and everything is nicely chilled.
Tomorrow morning I will get up early to get the focaccia put together and ready to bake. I've made the olive oil/garlic/rosemary mix needed for the recipe. Then it will be a matter of finding enough serving bowls and utinsels for all the sides for the salad. I have all the liquid refreshment ready to go into an ice chest and a big bucket.
The weather for the last few days has been gorgeous; true spring in Cuyutlán. That's what this little party is all about. To bid adieu to winter and welcome another glorious Primavera.
Have a wonderful time. Enjoy your guests. Enjoy the delicious food you have prepared. It's a party, after all!