I stayed up way too late making this delicious cake (omit the dried fruit) Friday night for the grown-up dinner party that we had on Saturday, but it was SO worth it. Really, I need to get out of my Tollhouse cookie rut more often.
The late night (and all the cake filling I ate out of the mixing bowl before remembering it had alcohol in it and maybe I should give it a rest) meant James and I fell asleep Saturday morning while everyone else was at tee ball and I was supposed to be cleaning the house. When everyone came back I took my second trip to the grocery store for the day (first trip was at 7:00 for chocolate chips and when I got back Wes ran out to my car and grabbed the bag and exclaimed "You a brought me ah donut, Mama?!) to buy corn tortillas and came home with two bottles of wine, a six pack of Corona, some raspberry chipotle sauce, a "fiesta size" bag of tortilla chips, and a huge tub of guacamole. Then I ate lunch, which clearly I should have done before leaving for the store.
After a family nap we switched into full-on prep mode, which entailed a Hoarders-style clean up of both floors of the house, and my favorite part of party prep, COOKING.
I poached chicken, I chopped sweet potatoes, I made tomatillo sauce. We used eight limes. EIGHT. It was my kind of meal. By five o'clock I had two pans of chicken enchiladas (spicy and kids') and a huge tray of cilantro-lime sweet potatoes, iced tea, a dip made of cream cheese and raspberry chipotle sauce, chips and guacamole all ready to go, and thanks to Ryan the house was sparkling--even the shower door--the table was set, and the music was just right.
James woke up from his nap right on time and our guests, Charlie and Wes's wonderful preschool teachers and one of their husbands, arrived. Everything was ready and under control and I couldn't help but reflect on the first dinner party Ryan and I threw together before we were married when the guests had to serve the salad with their hands and I think someone had a spoon instead of a fork because I didn't have enough forks at my house. And we cleverly used a tablecloth to conceal the fact that we had brought the big patio table inside because the kitchen table was tiny and who knows what I made that night, but it certainly did not involve homemade tomatillo sauce and now that I'm thinking about it I sort of remember holding my breath as I cut into a chicken breast because I was terrified that it wouldn't be cooked through (it was).
Charlie and Wes were perfect little angels in the way only kids whose teachers have just shown up to their house and sat down at their table can be. Which is to say they were terrified. Charlie refused to speak audibly for the first hour, instead tapping me on the shoulder and whispering things into my ear. Wes ate crackers for dinner, but he was very subdued from his normal dinnertime behavior. They warmed up after dessert--Wes regaled us all with his nonsensical knock-knock jokes and Charlie brought a jigsaw puzzle into the kitchen for he and Miss Cindi to work on together.
It was wonderful to finally get to talk to the boys' teachers while not standing on either side of a half-door. We talked about food and school and kids and grown-up kids and our Alma Mater and places we've all lived and Charlie and James and Wes and how well Wes eats at school and how picky he is at home. It was really lovely and I could have sat there at our kitchen table with them all night, until the last of the wine and the last of the cake were gone, but then they probably wouldn't have such nice things to say about the boys' behavior, so we reluctantly said goodbye and I brainstormed reasons to invite them over again one day.