Our little group is not so little any more, and so we decided to split ourselves into two dinners this time around.
For the first dinner, Brandon crafted a Southern BBQ menu that would make any cowboy cry. With Katie and Becky assisting, the trio served macaroni and cheese with sauteed onions and crispy bacon and perfect calabrian chili brussel sprouts. (I've now tried this recipe four times and am convinced I'll never go back to "regular" brussels). The main course was a smoked beef brisket with homemade BBQ sauces piled high next to cornbread and baked beans. Becky whipped up to-die-for grilled bananas stuffed with chocolate and served with a homemade vanilla ice cream. Stefan was our bartender once again and crafted another literary cocktail, a Catch Her in the Rye featuring sugared Rainier cherries. Adam created our evening's music and Sydney and Janelle disguised our rented plastic tables with the loveliest decor. Amanda snapped the photos and Bryan assisted with anything and everything that was needed. And once again, David rang in the evening with a whimsical toast.
Two weeks later, we gathered another ten friends to do it all again. This time, we played to a "hopeful spring" theme that was carried from plate to table. Evy and Julianna dreamed up a stunning spring table. Jessica, Zach, and Stephen amazed us all with a menu featuring crudites and asparagus spinach dip, chestnut lentil pate atop French bread, stuffed mushrooms, a simple salad, grilled asparagus soup, and rosemary potato focaccia rolls.
And then the main courses came out!
Yes. You read that right. Courses.
So we continued to talk and laugh our way through an incredible baked pork chop and a mushroom pea risotto before finally settling into tea poached pears in chocolate sauce for dessert.
All the while, Charlotte made us Moscow Mules and Caitlin poured bubbly. Casey captured a video, Amanda took the photos, and Brandon gave us a simple and perfect soundtrack for the night.