May 5, 1999
After prepping for most everything last night, things actually went really, really smoothly for the dinner tonight. That was really cool. The gathering was even more fun than I thought it would be, which is probably saying something for as much of an introvert as I am.
Work went really well as well, having some focus and having the boss in for the week really helped. Oddly enough, while Dan isn't anything remotely like a dictator, he is able to give us some direction and thought that I don't normally get about the big picture stuff, that really, really helped in getting my focus back together as to what I really needed to do next and what I needed to figure out. Risk areas first. High risk areas firstest. There are plenty of things to look into and the nicest thing is that with my day planner I'm actually writing all those down and doing all the looking and remembering what it was that I've already done. Having real markers for the back trail instead of the bread crumbs of my memory (eaten by the crows of forgetfulness, stress, and too-many-other-things) is a real boon.
So we got home around 5:30, and I had fun setting up the Spanish rice, which is mostly three cups of thoroughly washed white rice, a whole bottle of salsa and then enough water to cook all the rice on top and the whole thing went on the stove that way. While I waited for it to boil I threw together the enchilada cassaroles, basically poured a bit of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a deep backing dish, layered corn tortillas on that, then another splash of sauce to cover the tortillas, then a layer of meat and onions and then a layer of grated cheese. Then repeat from the tortilla layer to the last layer, where, on the tortillas I just put the sauce and the last of the grated cheese. I had a lot of tortillas, so just filled up the really deep baking dishes, using red sauce for one and green sauce for the other and then stuffed them both into the oven at 350.
By this time the rice had boiled, and I shoved it all back on the simmer burner, and by the time I actually put the cassaroles into the oven, the rice had boiled down well past the surface, so I just turned it off and let it sit. It was another forty minutes until everyone got there, but things waited pretty well. I put two cans of refried black beans into a bowl and put them into the oven with the cassaroles and just as Bob, Mai and Andrew arrived, I put grated cheese on that, and it sizzled, bubbled, and melted nearly instantly. John tossed together a quick salad with lettuce, avocado, tomatos, and green onions.
So we ate. It was really yummy, the cassaroles turning into somewhat sloppy enchiladas that spooned up easily and the rice and beans went well with it. Everyone heaped up their plates and had plenty. I was a little worried it wouldn't be enough for ten people, with one growing boy, but it turned out that we had enough leftover for a few lunches. So that was really good.
Dessert was one of Whole Food's apple almond tarts, and it was wonderful, the apples were firm but tender, cooked through in beautifully arrainged patterns on the surface of the creamy almond cake that filled underneath. The crust was crisp and buttery and perfect and folks gobbled up their pieces happily. Jonathan, Ryan and Francis' eighteen-month-old ate nearly an entire piece himself. That was funny.
It was cool to be comfortable with folks. Nice to have people that we already know around, and that helped a lot.
Dan stayed after everyone left and we just sat and talked a while about home stuff, not work stuff, and all the things he was going through to get a house up. We showed him the blueprints to our house and how it translated into reality. It's hard to look at a plan and figure out how it's going to turn out unless you have something to compare against. Turns out our house is what, in the Northeast, they called Cap Cod, where the second story isn't really a full story, it's mostly just the 'stuff under the roof'. The guest rooms are actually built under the roof, not with walls of their own, and have dormers through the roof to gain the view. That was interesting to learn.
Called Mom afterwards and it was good to just talk about various things. She was feeling pretty good, and so it was fun to talk with her. She was amused that I'd fed that many people already, and that things had turned out well. The Spanish rice recipe was actually something she'd given me, and she had a slew more.
Just kinda collapsed after that, watched TV while John did the dishes. I am somewhat amused myself by the fact that while everyone said that it was a really good dinner, including John, I wasn't quite sure if it really was. So it's good to write this down and put into words that everyone enjoyed themselves and that they thought the food was as good as I thought it was, and that everyone had fun.
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