We ended up with ten for dinner: ourselves, Lori's parents, Heather and her boyfriend Sam, Lori's Aunt Laurene and Uncle Dave, and their daughter Hailey and her boyfriend Joe.
Our menu, with commentary:
We made these things:
- deviled eggs. These were some of the best deviled eggs I've had, because they had enough mustard to be pretty zesty. I enjoyed the ones made with a generous dash of chipotle sauce even more.
- Watergate salad. This is a nostalgia food for me; I remember my grandmother and my great-aunt Treba serving it. I was somewhat surprised to see that it was invented in the early 70's.
- 24-hour potatoes. This is a traditional recipe from Lori's mother; potatoes get boiled, shredded, and combined with cheddar cheese, sour cream, butter, and possibly other types of milkfat that I'm forgetting. (Potatoes and milkfat are almost always a winning combination.) It's left to sit in the refrigerator for a day, and then baked.
- grilled ham with apricot-ginger glaze. This was one of the better hams I've ever had, and certainly one of the best hams I've ever made. We used a 9-pound boneless ham (which made it very easy to slice.) It was rubbed with the rub from this recipe and grilled according to those directions, then glazed with a combination of apricot preserves, honey, apple cider, and grated fresh ginger. I did a better job of the glazing than I often do; I managed to get it really baked on nicely. The result was excellent; the rub and the glaze contributed a lot of mellow sweetness, which went nicely with a mellow smoky flavor from the ham. (Bonus: Lori's father told an anecdote of his father buying a new grill just before the Fourth of July and spit-roasting a ham. The ham sealed itself up in the course of cooking, so when the juices heated sufficiently, the ham exploded, ruining the grill and sharing the smell of ham with everyone in a radius of several blocks.)
9 pounds was too much ham, though--even after giving away generous portions as leftovers and giving each of us two big slices for lunch, we still have about 2 1/2 pounds left. We may be bored of ham before we are done with ham.
- grilled asparagus. Fresh asparagus was cheap, so I bought three pounds, spritzed it with nonstick cooking spray, tossed it with the last of the herb vinaigrette from the Mansion on Turtle Creek, and put it on the grill. This came out very well, with a rich grilled flavor. We served it with lemon butter (which was a hassle to make), but people didn't eat much of the lemon butter, and I felt that the asparagus didn't really need it.
- lemon chiffon cheesecake with fruit sauce. This recipe has been a favorite (particularly of Heather's) for years, and Lori made it excellently as always (without cracking the top at all, too). We didn't put the lemon pie filling on top this year, and I think that leaving it off was an improvement.
Lori's mother made these things (even with the broken wrist):
- baby carrots with dill sauce. Pretty tasty.
- Herbed mustard-coated chicken (since Heather doesn't eat ham). I didn't try this.
Heather made these:
- Strawberry salad (baby spinach, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and a strawberry vinaigrette. It's been part of our repertoire for at least five years; we made it the night we got engaged.)
- bread from the bread-maker.
Sam made an anonymous concoction of kale, bowtie pasta, onions, and balsamic vinegar, which was quite tasty.
Laurene made these:
- cole slaw
- fruit salad
The dining table that I inherited from my grandparents seats 8 comfortably, but we had 10 diners. So we added a table to the room--which is to say that since I was grilling at the time, I asked a couple of people to move a table into the dining room. They put it at an odd diagonal angle to the main table; it didn't seem like a good fit to me, but I didn't argue, and it was at least adequate.
Dinner went very well, but I did find it very wearing. I found it a great help to go off by myself for a few minutes once or twice. And after our guests left, it was very nice to spend some time all by myself, with Lori in another part of the house as I loaded the dishwasher.
Next weekend will be another busy weekend, with D&D on Saturday and the Bunny Melt on Sunday. But we'll make it through somehow.