Today is the Winter Solstice. And if the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn’t end some time today it will also be the first Christmas Party here at La Cucina Castano. Our annual party started as a small gathering of friends on Christmas Eve and hasn’t changed all that much through the years except it’s not on Christmas Eve anymore, a few more friends have been added along the way along with a few more kids. Always a great time.
The idea with hosting a party is to not jump through too many culinary hoops. Keep it simple, have plenty of food and have dishes you can prepare ahead of time so you can kick back and relax when the guests arrive. This is a different philosophy than having a few guests over for a dinner party, where you want to experiment and stretch your culinary skills and are often cooking away as your guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.
The menu tonight will be Italian Mac ‘n Cheese (I’ll give out that recipe one of these days soon), gumbo and sausage & peppers. Plenty of fun hors d’oeuvres, too, along with sandwiches and pretzels and such. The fridge is stocked with beer and the bar is filled with all the necessary cocktail ingredients. I haven’t decided what my beverage of choice will be tonight, though after my friend Steve told me about the Blood Orange martinis he made last weekend I found some blood orange juice while shopping so I may have to give that a try.
Well, time to start prepping so I can get all this food preparation out of the way and get ready to spend a fun evening with friends. Enjoy all your holiday festivities and let’s hope those Mayans were wrong and we make it through the day so we can party tonight.