This past weekend was one of the best I’ve had in quite a long time. During our time in Waco we met some of our very best friends. There’s something about being in the trenches together that brings people closer than they would have been otherwise, and this is what I have Baylor law school to thank for!
Ben spent most of his law school days with three great guys at Baylor, and as a result I became great friends with them, their significant others, and their kids. After graduation we moved to Amarillo along with one of the other couples, Tim and Jackie. Jason and Carrie and their adorable girls moved to Decatur and Christian moved to Houston. Being scattered throughout the great state of Texas makes getting together a tough endeavor. It’s also hard to find a time that works with everyone’s schedule. So, this weekend was a special one because everyone was able to meet up in the bustling metropolis of Decatur. Christian brought his fiancé, so we were able to meet her, and we definitely approve.
One of the great things about this group is our numerous shared interests. For Carrie H and I one of those is food! We had many incredible dinner parties in Waco, and when we get together now we usually plan a menu for one of our meals. This weekend, Carrie also planned great breakfasts and lunches. She is incredible.
The main event was a Mad Men and 60’s inspired meal of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. In our research of this era we discovered that a lot of the dishes were made using convenience foods like cocktail weenies, canned foods, pre-prepared foods, etc. I am not ashamed to say that I am a food snob. I won’t say that Carrie H is a food snob…but I won’t say that she’s not a food snob… anyway, we were not about to cook a meal using a bunch of canned food. We did want to use some of the traditional menu items, but to add some updated recipes to create more of an interesting and tastier meal. Here is the final menu decision.
Spinach dip with crudités
Caramelized Shallot and Gruyere Fondue (recipe below)
Brie stuffed mushrooms
Smoked paprika bacon wrapped dates stuffed with manchego
This was such great fun. I’m usually not pushing for a themed party complete with a wardrobe to match, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to wear this dress and share my Bump-Its so that all the ladies could have nice puffy hair-dos.
We made the guys get a little fancy and wear skinny ties. They were good sports.
Here is the fondue recipe. I’ve made this before and it is delicious. I think it tasted more delicious served from my awesome avocado green vintage fondue pot…a gift from Carrie H.
Gruyere Fondue with Caramelized Shallots (Bon Appetit, March 2000)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (or more) dry white wine
- 14 ounces grated Gruy(re cheese (about 3 1/2 cups packed)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 sourdough baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced shallots and sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle shallots with sugar, salt and pepper. Sauté until shallots are caramelized, about 15 minutes. Transfer shallots to small bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups wine to skillet; boil 1 minute.
- Pour wine into heavy medium saucepan; set over medium-low heat. Toss cheese with flour in medium bowl to coat. Add half of caramelized shallots to wine; add cheese mixture by handfuls, stirring until cheese melts and is smooth before adding more. Thin with more wine if mixture is too thick. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
- Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot. Set pot over candle or canned heat burner. Top fondue with remaining caramelized shallots. Serve with bread cubes.