So, I was going to post a cool variation on my Porridge Bread recipe, but now I’m thinking a little more experimentation is warranted. Paul says that about a half hour before it was done it was very puffy and beautiful.
So about a month ago, I’m reading “The Totally Geeky Guide to the Princess Bride,” when inspiration strikes. When I was a kid, Mom always threw elaborate theme parties for our birthday, and here I am all freaked out about hitting the big 3-0 – what better remedy than a Princess Bride Party?
Of course the first thing to do with any new idea is google it. There was a surprising lack of menu ideas, but I did at least find us cool t-shirts at cafepress. (Click on the picture to make it bigger.)
The next step was menu planning. (This is the point where Paul declared me “truly my mother’s daughter.”) The staples of the meal were a 28-inch “Pizza Of Unusual Size” and “Make-Your-Own Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches.” (Alas, I had to substitute bacon for the mutton – it’s just too hard to find a nice lean mutton nowadays.)
Our favorite party munchies, bacon-wrapped smokies, became “Shrieking Eel Cutlets” (recipe follows.) Cream cheese with strawberry pepper jelly made a nice “Lightning Sand with Fire Swamp Jelly,” and the requisite fruit and veggie trays became “Fezzik’s Fearless Fruit” and “Inigo’s Vengeance Veggies.”
Desserts included Dread Pirate Robert’s Trifle (“Who are you?” “I am no one to be trifled with.”), Miracle Pills (chocolate truffles), Perfect Kisses (Hershey’s, of course), and Albino Balls (the pecan divinity left over from when my family didn’t make it for xmas!)
I told people to bring booze, but couldn’t resist a trip down the wine rows at Rouse’s, where I found “Three Thieves”, “Wild Horses” (with the prettiest white horse on the label!), “Irony”, “Royal Bitch,” and of course – “Andre.”
You just cannot stop people from bringing food to a Louisiana party, no many how many times you say you will feed them, which is actually really nice! It was fun coming up with names for Kristin’s lasagna (Prince Humperdink’s Lasagna – the perfect comfort food when you’ve just killed your bride), Katie’s “Guilder Chocolate Cake,” and Renee’s “Six-Fingered Salad” with shrimp skewers!
The highlight of the evening though was Paul’s cake! It took me a while to realize that phrases like “I would really like a birthday cake at the party,” “my mom used to make the coolest theme cakes,” “it feels so wrong to order your own birthday cake,” and “I just cannot find a pirate cake anywhere in Slidell,” were all “girl communication.” Once I switched to “guy communication” (“I want you to make me a Princess Bride birthday cake. Here is the recipe. I found decorations at Big Lots. Here they are.”) then we were in great shape and he made the coolest cake!
To keep from backseat cooking, I made the shrieking eel cutlets while he made the cake. He did let me help put some of the blue frosting around the cake’s shrieking eel just because he could tell I was going crazy wanting to help!
Finally it was Party Time!!! We had 15 people, which is a little low for one of our parties but a nice size for a TV-oriented one where everyone was in the living room instead of all spread out. I didn’t go as crazy with the invites as usual for that exact reason – if I missed inviting you to this bash rest assured our next one (probably Halloween) will be the usual huge open house!
The party itself was as awesome as I had hoped. Almost everyone there knew the movie well, if not by heart, so there was plenty of reciting along with the lines. When it finished, we started it over, then ignored it while we jabbered. The last guests wandered out around quarter to three. It all felt very much like the many, many nights in high school watching the same movie with best friends, exactly the magical time I wanted to recapture!
A few more pix, then the promised recipe follows.
Those are Paul’s “Idiot-Proof” directions written on her hand. We are very glad Kristin made it to this party, instead of spending another night driving around the ghetto across town looking for our house.
Kristin’s Ex-Fiance: we all decided you are a loser. How can you not love this face??? Plus, she made it from Orlando to Slidell without a pee break, and makes a mean frozen lasagna. This is obviously a girl of many talents!
Paul featured this shot of me on his blog. I wish I had thought to put my light-up tiara back on first. Oh well, it very nicely shows off the AMAZING haircut and color that I treated myself to on my last day of being 29. (Brian at Attractions Salon is a genius!)
Paul, my party was amazing!!! Thanks for putting up with me this last month – I love you so much!
And finally, as promised, the best party food evah.
Shrieking Eel Cutlets (aka Bacon-Wrapped Smokies, aka Meat Candy.)
One bag of cocktail smokies
One or two packages bacon, depending on the size of your smokies bag – the thicker bacon works better
One box brown sugar
One package wooden toothpicks (plastic will burn!)
One or two glass casserole dishes
1) Cut the bacon in half or thirds, depending on how long it is – you want it to wrap the smoky with a slight overlap.
2) Wrap each smoky in a piece of bacon, stab it with a toothpick to hold it all together, and lay it in a greased glass casserole dish. (I use spray “butter” to grease the dish.)
3) Sprinkle brown sugar liberally over the top of the smokies – I use one box brown sugar for two casserole dishes.
4) Bake at 325 for about an hour, until the sugar is melty and bubbling.
Been meaning to start a place just to jot down random thoughts, etc. What better day than a birthday – and the big 3-0 at that!
Note to self – the kitchen timer works a lot better when you actually press start. The porridge is now slightly understirred, but will suffice.
I discovered porridge last week and have fallen in love. Not oatmeal, with it’s mushy rolled oats and sticky, clumpy skin, but real irish porridge with steel cut oats, simmered on the stove for a half hour. It comes out with the most interesting chewy texture – almost more like a thick couscous than oatmeal. Add some butter and real maple syrup – mmmm.
I also tried it in the crockpot overnight, but it got too swollen and mushy. The stove keeps the texture much better, and it reheats well in the microwave for a few days.
I had a little porridge left over from last week but wanted to start a new batch, so I decided to use the leftovers in bread. I was amazed how hard it was to find a recipe – all the “oatmeal breads” used uncooked rolled oats. The few recipes I found using leftover oatmeal were the kneading kind, and I wanted bread machine. So I took our favorite rice bread recipe, from “The Bread Machine Cookbook II” and substitued the cooked porridge for the rice.
The loaf turned out nicely, though a little lopsided – well mixed (we’ve been having problems ever since the bread machine was overzealous in it’s kneading and plummeted off the counter,) firm yet not too dense, with a nice chewy, nutty flavor. Toasts well and would probably make a good ham sandwich. I might try putting in some dark honey next time instead of the sugar, just to sweeten it up a touch and offset the nuttiness. A little cinnamon mixed in as well would probably make a nice breakfast bread.
And for a nice googleable recipe title:
Leftover Oatmeal / Leftover Porridge Bread Machine Recipe (makes “large” 1 1/2 lb loaf)
leftover oatmeal or porridge – 1 cup
water – 1 cup
butter – 1 1/3 Tbls
salt – 1/2 tsp
sugar – 1/2 tsp (or try honey instead)
bread flour – 3 cups
yeast – 2 1/2 tsp
cinnamon – optional, to taste
Use your bread machine’s recommended ingredient order, and use the wheat bread setting if you have one. Let me know your variations and how it comes out!