Saturday, March 31, 2012

Showers of food

Photo credit: Asha Thao
One of my good friends from work is having a baby. At my old school, this meant all of the ladies in the school got together in the school library for a little informal baby shower. But apparently high schools are too big for that kind of thing, so showers are done by department...which kind of left me in charge. This is not a good thing, as showers are not my forté. I have been lucky enough to avoid having to host a shower up until this point; my strategy is usually to delay volunteering until someone else offers. :) I barely tolerated my own showers. I am not good at the formal thing, nor the cutsie thing, nor the everything-matching thing. I don't enjoy the games or the piles of presents. I don't think of the little details, like having everyone write out a little piece of advice for the mom-to-be.

Luckily another friend in the department offered to co-host, and she is an excellent party hostess. She has a beautiful house, complete with matching serving dishes, :) and is really good at all of those things I mentioned above. But she doesn't like to bake. She took care of the cutsie, I handled the was a match made in heaven. :)

Yesterday afternoon, twenty past and present teachers gathered to gossip, eat, tell baby stories, and wish our friend well.

Photo credit: Asha Thao

The mom-to-be requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I tried Dorie's cocoa and buttermilk birthday cake with a chocolate ganache frosting from the best chocolate cake ever. The cake didn't seem quite done at the suggested time, but I should've pulled it out of the oven anyway; it was a little overdone, dry and crumbly. The one thing on my list that I didn't have time for was a Swiss meringue buttercream to decorate. Oh well, the flavor was still good and the cake was a hit...practicing my decorating skills will have to wait.

I also made lemon bars from my America's Test Kitchen Family cookbook and NM's truffle brownies. The lemon bars were extremely lemony (6 lemons' worth of zest and juice), and they were quite tasty. I was disappointed with their stamina, though: they didn't hold up well to being transported and moved around. NM's brownies were amazing, as always.

One of my favorite new recipes that I tried were these soft frosted sugar cookies from Tracey's site that I have been drooling over for months. They were even better than the ones from the store, which are a guilty pleasure of mine. And they were so cute!

My other favorite new recipe is these turkey and spinach rolls, which have been on my to-try list ever since Andrea posted them nearly two years ago. I can't believe I waited so long to try them. They were so easy, and soooo delicious. And such a good base for so many other cute sandwich creations. I used the soft dough from ABED that I always use for buns, with half white whole wheat flour. I rolled it out into a giant rectangle as though I were making cinnamon buns, and then spread it with Boursin cheese, spinach leaves, and a couple different kinds of turkey. Then I rolled them up and sliced them, cinnamon bun style, put them on a baking sheet covered with parchment and stuck them in the fridge overnight. The day of the party, I just had to take them out and let them come to room temperature and then bake them for 25 minutes. Everyone who tried them loved them, and people commented on how much easier they were to eat than other party sandwiches. This is definitely a repeat recipe.


  1. I'm with you--I love baking and making snacks to eat, but I don't enjoy any of the rest of party planning. Especially games. =) The cake sounds delicious (I need to go look at that frosting again), and I want to make those cookies from Tracey's blog, too.

  2. Abby, you're a star, your friend is very lucky to have you cater her shower! :)

  3. I agree! I enjoy baking for showers,not so much the other stuff.