I threw a birthday party for one of my roommates, which turned out to be dinner and cake for 13 people. No pressure for my first dinner party! :D
Monday I baked the cake, using White Cake II from the '97 Joy of Cooking. I added an awful lot of food coloring and made a green and yellow checkerboard cake with three layers.
Tuesday I did the rest of the prep. I filled the cake with raspberry preserves (heated and strained directly onto the layers), frosted it with Butter Frosting (from Better Homes and Gardens Baking Book) tinted a lovely shade of purple, and decorated it. Sooj added some lovely flowers, lavender and sweet pea. Then I baked Olive Oil Bread, using 1.5 cups white flour and 1 cup white whole wheat. I keep trying to use a pizza stone and it keeps coming out thin and crispy, and oddly shaped. I need to reduce baking time a lot, and maybe try a better improvised peel. I set up the standard tomato-and-garlic pasta sauce, using 4 15-oz cans of tomatoes and scaling up appropriately. I measured out the oil, which ended up being a little too much. Next time I just eyeball it, as usual. After the sauce was simmering, with some Yellowtail Shiraz added, I prepped 5 ears of corn, cutting the tips and ends off and cutting each ear in half. That was a little harder than I expected, but I stuck them in a dish in the microwave, with some water added and saran wrap over them, and just let them wait. They eventually got microwaved for 4 minutes on high, and came out excellent.
The salad consisted of lots of different lettuces and also arugula, all from Boistfort Valley Farm, and I put the birthday girl in charge of other vegetables (carrots, red bell peppers, and celery).
I brought my food processor to a standstill making pasta with seven egg whites and five cups of flour (three white, two whole wheat). I ended up turning it out onto the counter to mix and add more water and oil to, and then back into the processor to finish. The dough came out just fine despite that.
That much pasta just barely fit into the pot, and it did boil over once or twice. I served the salad and the corn while waiting for the noodles to finish cooking, and then brought the pot and the skillet to the table.
Everyone loved all of it, which made me very happy. The sauce was exquisite, the noodles were tasty, and the cake was rich and buttery and very very colorful!
Pictures of the cake, the food, and the party to follow.