I can’t lie, I’ve been so excited to write about this little event since it happened. On November 1st, Rob and I finally felt ready to entertain in our new apartment. So, we threw a little housewarming shindig/Halloween party. Prep started the night before…
Thanks, Cyrus Penarroyo, for buying us the obnoxious 101 cookie cutter set we registered for! Now instead of just pumpkins, I could make snickerdoodles shaped like all kinds of fun Halloween stuff. I used this recipe, just without the cream cheese filling (http://cookiesandcups.com/cream-cheese-filled-snickerdoodles/), because this hostess/ain’t nobody have time for that. Because look what else I had to make.
Let me explain. Rob and I decided to be Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate from Parks and Rec for Halloween, and I had the best time in the world theming my apps, tray trays, and zerts around the show (ahem http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OhJJR8nBl4). My new chalkboard was obviously the perfect place to share my little menu. The only thing not Parks and Rec centered was the Quoit Club Punch, a special treat Rob wanted to offer our guests. Read about it here (http://punchdrink.com/recipes/quoit-punch/).
So the first thing I offered to my guests (breaking in my amazing new serving platter) was “Litrally” vegan sweet potato hummus (http://www.vegetarianventures.com/2012/11/26/spiced-sweet-potato-hummus/#.UnJaBxCKJ6h), for our meat-free friends and as an homage to Chris Traeger. It wasn’t quite as creamy as I’d hoped, but it went nicely with my Halloween-themed dippers, orange bell pepper, mini carrots, and black tortilla chips.
I obviously made many more than pictured here, but next on my buffet were my homemade crab rangoons with “awesome sauce,” aka Andy’s reply the first time April said “I love you.” These were probably the biggest effort in terms of time, and they were a little frustrating because I couldn’t get a good seal, and the filling kept coming out of the sides while frying. But they were still quite good! (http://chinesefood.about.com/od/partyappetizers/p/crabrangoon.htm).
Now I don’t take a lot of shortcuts in the kitchen - I’m pretty dedicated to scratch-making the old-fashioned way. But I had to admit defeat when it came to making a sweet and sour-esque “awesome sauce” for the rangoons. Making that bright red, corn-starchy elixir is beyond what I can fathom at this point, so I bought some from the store pre-made. And it was really tasty.
Simmering on the stovetop, I had the main attraction for our guests, Pawnee pumpkin risotto with Mouserat meatballs (Pawnee = the town in Parks and Rec, Mouserat = the name of Andy’s band). This is one of my all-time favorite autumn recipes (http://teaforsix.com/2011/09/11/pumpkin-and-meatball-risotto/), and the pumpkin, white wine, leeks, and sausage play so well together in this hearty risotto. Which Rob and I ate off of frisbees, just like Andy and April when they were too lazy to wash their plates.
Finally, we come full circle - here are the “Sweetums” snickerdoodles I’d baked the night before, topped in their full cinnamon sugar glory. Sweetums is a villainous candy company in Pawnee, slowly but surely pumping Pawnee citizens full of obesity-inducing treats, and these cookies bearing their name went so nicely with our Harvest Festival cider - which was just some storebought apple cider I’d revved up with extra autumn spices and served out of my crockpot.
My classmates are hilarious - they arrived exactly at 7 o’clock. Our conscientious PhD types are NEVER fashionably late. From left to right, we have April Ludgate, badminton player (who was actually an Olympic-level badminton player in real life!) 70s disco babe, jogger, cowgirl, and Rihanna. We missed you, Janette! Our 7-woman cohort is such a treat to have around, especially since we’re now third-years, it can be hard to get us all in the same place at the same time. Love them.
After a few hours, my girls went home as Rob’s co-workers came knocking. We did not plan this, and I think it was absolutely hilarious - grad students will take the early shift at any party. Many glasses of punch later, our guests called it a night, and it was selfie time for me and my Burt Maclin (FBI).
After which, we parked ourselves on the couch with the leftover Quoit Club Punch, broke character, and selfied with Peaches. Her Champion costume needs work.
This was my first time entertaining guests with my new wedding wares, in our first apartment together, and as Mrs. Bratney. I loved feeding these wonderful people we have in our life, all together in our teeny apartment. It was a wonderful night.