I like to do a different theme for my annual holiday party; last year it was an English Christmas, this year I went with an Italian theme, which means a feast of seven fishes. Let me tell you, it was a pain in the ass getting seven seafood dishes, plus food to accommodate those annoying vegetarians, as well as people who just plain prefer meat over seafood. I normally pride myself by making everything from scratch, but I realized to pull it off I would need some help, so I took it. From Costco. Oh the shame.
Here's my menu
Bacon wrapped scallops (Costco)
Mini crab cakes (Costco)
(The rest I made)
Caesar Salad with homemade dressing (anchovies!) and croûtons.
Shrimp and Crab Cannelloni
Braised short ribs
Penne alla vodka
Bruschetta with and without prosciutto
Italian olives and cheeses (Ribiola due latte and Piave)
I was planning on making cannolis but I just ran out of time and energy. (Wikipedia tells me that the plural of cannoli is cannola? Can that be right? Mj, I need your expertise!)
I also made a homemade eggnog that R loves. Steve mixed up a tasty adult nog with Kahlua and Bailey's.
I had a near disaster with the penne. I was running 40 minutes behind schedule, so I was rushing around. The timer went off and I drained the pasta and tossed it in to the sauce. The pasta looked undercooked to me and in a moment of horror I realized I had mistaken the timer for the cannelloni for the penne timer. The pasta still had 4 minutes to go! I decided to add a cup of water to the sauce, cover, cook and pray. It worked okay. . .the pasta got to the right consistency, but the texture of the sauce was a little thick. I would have normally thinned it out, but I was worried that I would be totally diluting the flavor. What can I say? I was a little off my game. It happens to the best of us.