Saturday, December 12, 2009

Annual Red Beans and Rice weekend

It's pouring down rain outside. A few days ago it snowed. Wonderful aromas are floating around the house. I have this craving for a beer, but we have to go out to a party tonight, so I will have to defer the beer.

Each year around this time we have a Cajun theme Christmas party. I make a giant batch of red beans and rice on Saturday, Susan does a giant batch of jambalaya on Sunday, and I also make key lime pies on Saturday. Guests bring salads, appetizers, more desserts, vegan entrees, etc. Last tally was around 45 people arriving at our 1100+ sq foot house tomorrow evening. I think we have 22 places to sit down, maybe 25 if people sit on the edge of our bed and in Susan's office.

Still, it has always worked out. People move about, sit, stand and eat, cluster and in general have a good time. They come year after year, sometimes bringing friends, which accounts for the 45 this year. Some years we do double batches of everything. This year is definitely a triple batch year, thus the three pots on the stove. When they have cooked down a little more, I can strip the meat off the ham shanks and consolidate everything in one pot, I hope. So far not too many mishaps. It took three trips to the store as I discovered missing ingredients for the red beans. The plan was for four pies, but those four pies you see are pies five thru eight out of the oven. After the first 4 were ready I glanced at the expiration date on the key lime juice. 03/07/09 - bad. Also on the bottle, which has been sitting on our shelves for a year, was the notice: "Refrigerate after Purchase" - very bad. It had been on open shelves in the store and my brain must have originally read that as Refrigerate after Opening. So, the first set of pies looked good, smelled good, but we didn't want to be in suspense for 24 hours waiting to see if anyone developed food poisoning.

For now those first four pies are in the garage, which is as cold as a refrigerator at the moment. After the party, we will each have a small piece and see how we fare over the next 24 hours. On second thought, maybe just I will have a small piece. Someone has to drive me to the hospital. Final word - nobody tasted those first four.

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