Hey, you know what’s fun? Planning a dinner party without a functioning refrigerator. Even more fun? A very large grocery bill slowly melting away. Rob was going to go shopping on Friday for our little shindig but I suggested that we both go Wednesday night after work–mostly so it wouldn’t be crowded but also so I could pick up a few things to make in advance. So we went to the store, loaded everything into the fridge, watched Ghost Hunters and called it a night. That’s when I first heard The Noise. The noise went click, hum, click, and then silence. I was ready to call TAPS, convinced that we had a ghost trying to communicate with us from the other side. On further inspection, I found The Noise was coming from the fridge. Thursday morning Rob noticed the freezer wasn’t quite cold. Thursday afternoon, the whole thing was shot.
If Rob and his father have one thing in common, it’s a love, no, a need, for ice. Big, hulking blocks frozen in Tupperware and emptied into coolers big enough to hide a body (my father-in-law actually has a cooler we refer to as the coffin). Preparation for Hurricane Irene had fallen to me and it caused me no small amount of stress knowing my ice making and cooler packing would be up for evaluation. Fortunately the Great Refrigerator Breakdown fell on Rob’s capable shoulders and he packed the most impressive cooler I’ve ever seen. They should give out awards for this. I spent Friday stressing that we’d have to throw out everything. Saturday morning the repair man came and fixed the problem in under 20 minutes! The entire cooler survived! A few items actually froze, preserving them even more so. We served everything as planned and (so far) there haven’t been any reports of food poisoning.
The party went well, except we might have gone too heavy on the appetizers–everyone was full before dinner and stuffed to capacity afterwards. Our tiny apartment held 8 people nicely, though the table was tight. Thank goodness our wine rack expands into a buffet serving station–we didn’t have to put any platters on the table. Not all of the dishes were nominated for repeat performances, but cook and learn. I’m also sorry to say that I was a bit of a whirling dervish all morning and afternoon and forgot to take pictures of a lot of the dishes. For that reason, this post is going to be sadly without illustration. I do have some saved up for the rest of the week so stay tuned.
I have to confess that I get super-excited about using my various serving dishes, bowls, glasses, etc. I wanted to get some use of my giant punch bowl and I had been looking for a couple of weeks for an appropriate drink when this came across my Facebook updates. Perfect timing and perfect recipe for a late Autumn party. (BTW–I adore My Life as a Mrs., you should definitely be following her.) I made some adjustments for time, taste, and volume. The original recipe involved heating and spicing the cider before mixing the sangria but I had a lot to do Saturday. I also substituted rum for brandy, which will get much more use in my house!
Apple Cider Sangria
4 cups apple cider
1 bottle red wine
1 cup orange juice
1.5 cups spiced rum
generous sprinklings of cinnamon, ground allspice, and cloves
Mix and serve!