I have yet to master the art of looking impeccable while hosting a party. Opening and shutting an oven all day or standing over a hot stove lends itself to frizzy, matted hair and stained clothes, not lustrous locks and magazine spread fashion shoots. I knew I was about to make the worst dressed list when I took Lola out for a walk just before the party. As I went to unhook her leash, I noticed a huge glob of frosting embedded in the fur of her rump. Given that she hadn't done any of the cooking for the party, I'm uncertain how it got there. Despite having to wash the sugar out of her fur, my manic prep behavior (which inevitably crops up at the last minute before every gathering I throw) distracted me from checking my own appearance.
Guests arrived. Food was devoured. (And when I mean, devoured, I'm -like- SO SERIOUS. Here is the picture I remembered to take about 1/2 hour after the start time of the open house. And, yes, I know it's a terrible shot. My brain is incapable of hosting and remembering all the tips I learned for using my camera at the same time. Also, it looks like it snowed outside which it did not. It was 55 degrees yesterday. My camera remains a mystery to me. Go figure.)
Anyhow, after about an hour of entertaining (I made several dishes after the first guests had arrived to make sure there always something warm on the table), my friends Kate and Sam got ready to leave. Luckily (or unluckily...maybe it would have been better just not to know) for me, as we said our goodbyes, they happened to be standing in front of my hallway mirror. Straightening from a hug, I noticed that my hair seemed to be oddly plastered to one side of my head (kind of in a Texas beauty pageant sort of way, but less stylistically). Worse, when I actually *touched* it, it seemed to be very hard and sticky. It required wetting to fix. Need I point out again what a glamorous life I lead?
My guests were either too kind to point out this travesty of hairstyles or too distracted by guests like these (both of whom happen to be wearing Clothes by Melissa...I mean, is that fur vest to die for OR WHAT?!):
In all, having friends trickle through my apartment on New Year's Day (note: there were actual adults at the party, too), catch me up on their lives, and compliment my food was a fabulous way to start the New Year. (All the fatty food I ate, maybe not so much.) It was also the first event I've ever hosted where I actually tallied more alcohol at the end then when I began. Cake and champagne party, coming soon.
I've already posted a lot of the recipes I used for Saturday. This was one of the easiest. However, I will say that bacon and the recipes that included it were the first thing to go. People love the swine.
BAKED FRENCH TOAST
Perfect weekend breakfast. Throw it together the night before and just pop it in the oven when you (or someone who gets up earlier than you) wake up. Maybe oven roast some bacon (same temperature) for the last 15-20 minutes of the cooking time for a delicious meal. I also served a pineapple-banana fruit salad that seemed to compliment the dish well.
6 large eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
6-8 thick slices brioche or challah bread (my slices were about an inch thick)
butter to grease the pan
pure maple syrup for serving
1. Grease a 9x13 pan with butter.
2. Whisk eggs, cream or milk, sugar, vanilla and seasonings together.
3. Dip brioche slices in mixture and place in pan, overlapping slightly.
4. Pour remaining mixture over slices in pan.
5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
6. Bake at 375 degrees covered with foil for about 25 minutes. Then, uncover and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until brown. (Mine puffed up like some crazy souffle...all fluffy and gorgeous).
7. Serve with syrup, butter, berries or whatever your family likes.