Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hostess with Mostess

I signed up to host our next women's group meeting because this month we are supposed to try something new, and hosting the group (or any group, really) at my house is feeling pretty new to me. Then in a fit of insanity, I also signed up to do the food for the meeting. The meeting is tomorrow. So far (late evening), I have scrubbed the kitchen floor and the toilet and one dog and started the cooking.

Food is tricky with this crew. We might as well be considered walking wounded in the digestive tracts. Some are lactose intolerant to greater or lesser degrees. Some are gluten-free. At times we've had vegan and/or ovo-intolerant members. Some are forever on diets so avoiding sugar and/or carbs. It's hard to find things everyone can eat. Add in the "will eat" thing, and it could get absolutely insane. Even though the restricted diet people are willing to be responsible for their own food, I think it adds a lot if we can all share something.

Dessert is in the oven. The chicken is boiled and refrigerated. I still don't know exactly what I'm doing with the chicken tomorrow. It will be some sort of soup. I can't decide if I want to go basic or for an Italian feel, Mexican feel, or Creole feel. Hate to rush these things. I can add tomatoes and still be undecided, which is intriguing.

Dessert is Pumpkin-Brown Rice Pudding. I started with a recipe, but I tweaked wildly. This is the test run. Okay, I used pumpkin and spices per the recipe. It called for a quart of milk. I wondered if coconut milk would work to replace some of the milk, so I tried that. You have to bring this pumpkin and milk mixture upto a boil and then take part of the mixture to add to beaten eggs. I'm whisking the mixture into the eggs which start to cook instantly because the pumpkin is just off the boil. The egg reminds me of the egg when making egg drop soup: thin strands floating in the liquid. This time, though, the liquid is opaque and very thick. I also removed all the sugar of the original recipe and added raisins instead. Now the stuff is baking for 90 minutes.

I wonder about my life had I had a different family of origin. Would I perhaps have developed into a cook or chef? I enjoy cooking for friends and can follow many recipes that only call for basic equipment. Now more than ever I find I can enjoy deviating from recipes to see what will happen. Taking notes so I can duplicate or build upon successes while avoiding previously made mistakes would be useful.

I'm off to vacuum. Time falls back tonight, and I'll need that extra hour!

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