When our dinner group met last month at our home, it was just prior to the bathroom re-do project. We didn’t want to subject our friends to toothbrushes next to the kitchen sink and lotions/hair gel in the dining room. In their defense, since our dinner group is made up of neighbors, everyone lives in an old house and status reports of house projects are a continual source of conversation. It’s great to have like-minded house project friends – there’s always someone to borrow power tools or trucks from. No one would have been surprised to find bathroom stuff in our kitchen.
And, because it was just after Thanksgiving, our home was decorated for Christmas in one room and still in harvest mode in the other. Here’s what we had at dinner group in December at our house:
Dinner Group in December Menu
The appetizer was arancini and was, heavenly. Arancini are fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella. I am sorry to say that I don’t have a picture of this delicious appetizer that my friend, Robin, made. I was too busy being a hostess and enjoying my own party to remember to take a picture. Robin served the arancini on a vintage platter with little forks she picked up an estate sale. By the time I realized my omission, the food was gone. (These were so good, they didn’t last long…)
My husband cooked the mussels in a broth with white wine, chicken stock, onions, garlic, fresh thyme, oregano, bay leaf, butter, and Old Bay. The only place you may be able to get better mussels would be in Brussels but that’s it. It’s one of his favorite meals (and Brussels is one of our favorite cities) and anytime he wants to cook for dinner group, I’m fine with it.
Bread, served to soak up the mussel broth was fresh from the bakery and a hearty green salad rounded out the meal.
With dessert, we had egg nog with a splash of Bourbon whiskey (my favorite holiday drink) and toasted good friends and the upcoming Christmas season.
Clean-up was super easy because the shells all went into our new compost bucket, provided by the city of Portland. We can now put seafood shells in our yard debris container for weekly pick-up. This is great for our family – after 11 years of once-a-month garbage pick-up, I’m happy to get rid of smelly mollusk shells sooner rather than later.
The mussels were purchased at ABC Seafood, which is one of my favorite spots to buy seafood in Portland. It’s like a field trip to an aquarium.
How do you like to entertain around the holidays? Are you in a dinner group?
Go Gingham related links:
How to organize a dinner group – frugal, fancy, and fun entertaining!
Dinner group gathering
Dinner group does Bon Appetit
Arancini recipe fried or baked
Last summer’s dinner group gather is here and the appetizer we brought is here