Tuesday, 8 November 2011

What Would Martha Do?

I love hosting dinner parties, but I don't do it that often. Namely because I go crazy overboard with planning and ideas and lists, and by the time the night of the actual dinner rolls around I am exhausted and want everyone to leave as soon as they've shovelled the last morsel into their mouth.

I am an amazing hostess, as you can tell.

On Sunday I threw a 'Thanksgiving' dinner for Dan's family. Since this is Switzerland, no one was available on 'the fly' when I threw out the invitation two weeks before our real Thanksgiving in October. Dudes, this is serious stuff. I've never done anything on the fly with any born and bred Swiss person; there is at least a four week minimum needed to plan any social event.

So at the beginning of October everyone inked this November dinner into their calendars and my planning commenced. If you were to have come to our home anywhere between mid-October to last Saturday, there is a good chance that I would have sat you down and asked for your opinion on a range of topics from: What do you think of smoked salmon canapes? to: Are cloth napkins making a come back? Or are we all still of the opinion that the resulting laundry isn't worth the hassle?

Of course the one thing I didn't spend a lot of time considering was my main course menu, because I can rock that like nobody's business: succulent roasted chickens, steamed broccoli, potatoes mashed with chives, gravy, and a savoury bacon and rosemary stuffing. However, my preoccupation with what to serve for an appetizer and what to serve for dessert are different stories, and good grief but did I ever spend copious evening hours pouring over Martha Stewart's website. In fact, I think I can say with assurance that nobody knows that website better than I do at the moment. And when I would get overwhelmed with the selection of 'elegant appetizers' and 'seasonal appetizers' and 'casual appetizers' I would take a break and flip to her pets section where I would read up on all of Martha's cats and her Chow Chows, and Francesca and Sharkey (OMG I know her dogs' names. Send help.). Then I would flip over to her blog and curse all her and her friends' perfect New England homes. Then I'd feel sad that I didn't have a New England mansion with ebony Frisians grazing in the back paddock, and so I'd go back to the recipe section to visually eat away my sorrows.

It was a very tumultuous time, as you can tell.

In the end, I went with what I thought would be a very twee and cutesy dessert because I wanted to make something that wouldn't be too different from anything they'd tasted before, but would still have a distinct Canadian je ne sais quoi quality to it.

Behold, my idea:

Owl cupcakes!

The decorating idea didn't come from Martha--that was found by falling through an Internet worm hole that I will never find again--but I got the chocolate cupcake recipe from her.

We're a whoot!

My friend came over on Saturday night and helped me decorate these babies, and we also made some maple walnut cupcakes too, but I don't have a picture of those because they aren't as awesome looking as OWL CUPCAKES. Though, they actually tasted delicious and all the cupcakes were a huge hit.

And about the appetizer, you ask? Well I was going to make a smoked salmon mousse, but when I tested the recipe on Thursday night it failed miserably and I lost my mind.






So I went with a simpler spread of meat and cheese.

As everyone was chowing down on the sausage, they kept commenting on how good and unusual it was. What kind had I bought? Since I had just grabbed a cured sausage off the shelf thinking, 'eh, they're all the same' I was perplexed why they were making a big deal out of it.

So I grabbed the package to show them. Everyone passed the package around and murmured that they would never have thought to buy this.  How unusual, but good. What a surprise. A tasty surprise. Maybe they wouldn't be averse to buying it next time.

I was getting really confused.


What had I bought? What I had done?

Internet, it turns out the sausage that I carelessly grabbed was...SHEEP SAUSAGE.


I was horrified and shocked and terribly confused, and everyone laughed heartily. I feel quite confident Martha would not have made that blunder. Always trust the foreigner to provide a few laughs (and delicious cupcakes).


mom said...

Love the cupcakes Cait! And I really like your potted plants - what are they? Thank goodness I wasn't there...sheep sausage...YUK!!

Caitie said...

They're called Erica Calluna over here. Maybe that's the English name too? I only know they cost 2 CHF each and I thought they'd look good on the table. They really started to smell though (they're outdoor plants) so they're out on the balcony now.

Caitie said...

Whoops, I mean Erica Carnea.

T said...

OWL CUPCAKES! What a great idea Caitie. I miss going to your place for dinner, they were always great :)

Meg said...

Love the owl cupcakes cait! How artistic of you ;)