Hello? Anybody still out there? My blogging intentions have been so good this summer (5 posts lay patiently waiting in draft form), but my time has been short. Not because we are so busy, quite the opposite, sunny days have been spent at the pool, rainy days spent walking to the movie theater or library in town, I've had days (weeks?) go by without opening my laptop, I've read so many books I've lost count, and Jimmy and I have enjoyed many evenings out. It's been nice. I don't want to be reminded that only 5 weeks remain before the boys head back to school. The thought of sending Charlie to kindergarten makes me want to clutch my chest and weep. But we aren't there yet. Plenty of time for me to get overly dramatic and emotional about all that. (Bet you can't wait. Ha.)
Last week the boys spent the weekend at my parents. As much as we love their company (and noise) it is such a treat to get a couple weekends a year to ourselves. On Friday, Jimmy and I tried out a new restaurant and Saturday we hosted our Supper Club for dinner at our home. I started out taking pictures early in the day, but once our guests arrived I was having too much fun to bring the camera back out, plus I think it can be a little awkward to take pictures while everyone is trying to enjoy themselves. Never mind pictures that will be posted on a blog!
I kept the menu very simple. I purposefully choose food that could be nibbled using your hands or a fork, no knife or cutting necessary. That way people were free to mingle standing up and could balance the plate and eat at the same time gracefully. What actually happened was the men ended up on the patio drinking beer and eating, while the girls stayed in the dining room and talked girl stuff. It wasn't intentional but it was fun. Entertaining a large group can quickly start to feel like catering instead of a casual dinner party, there is a temptation to make a ton of food and a variety of dishes, which results in lots of last minute assembly and a tired host. I prefer to keep it simple, I like people to have enough food to feel satisfied but not so much they leave feeling over stuffed and tired. It makes the evening feel more effortless and enjoyable (though there is really no such thing as effortless entertaining, the secret is just to make it appear so. :) there is always planning and house tidying to be done!)
St. Germain Sangria
Cheese Board (I have a whole blog post, one of the 5 drafts, coming on how I like to assemble one)
Herb & Garlic Rack of Lamb (I doubled my recipe for the marinade and had 3 racks of lamb)
Herb Roasted Potatoes (made by one of the guests)
Blueberry and Lemon Cheesecake (recipe below. this was my favorite thing on the menu and I'm not typically a big cheesecake fan. It is incredibly light, not thick and dense like others I've tasted. Plus the blueberries are so incredibly good right now. I kept wishing my brother lived closer because growing up cheesecake was his favorite dessert, he ordered it every time it was on the menu! )
(To make: Combine 1 cup St. Germain, 1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc, fresh fruit (peach, berries, grapes) and let chill in pitcher for 4-8 hours)
(I actually made the cheesecake again this week to make sure I got the same results before I shared the recipe, so the above pic isn't from the party, in case you were wondering why the napkins didn't match. I know you guys notice the details. :) )
The Ultimate Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 32 squares)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 pound cream cheese, 2 (8-ounce) blocks, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract
Warm Lemon Blueberry Sauce:
1 pint blueberries
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Crust:In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
In a small saucepan add all the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly. Leave to cool before spreading on cheesecake.
(note: the ingredients and directions are identical to the linked recipe, I just used a larger springform pan and adjusted the cooking time and technique to match. The reviews of the original recipe reported a lot of under cooked cheesecakes. I made it twice and it was perfectly set, without being over cooked using the timing I wrote above.)