Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ptomaine

I belong to a luncheon group called, sometimes appropriately, Ptomaine. We rotate hostesses and meet once a month. We are assigned a specific category of food to bring: appetizer, bread, salad, vegetable, meat, dessert. Three times a year, we meet in the evening and have our husbands as our guests.

The original purpose was to try new recipes because the caveat of the whole thing is this: you're not supposed to bring a dish you've ever made before. Those of us who faithfully play the game have endured such masterpieces as Creamed Radishes and Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake. The latter probably wouldn't have been so bad had the other dessert that month not been a real chocolate cheesecake. To say it paled in comparison is to be polite.

But I've also gleaned some gems: a bread pudding, a ginger pork tenderloin that has become standard holiday fare, and several appetizers with a shrimp/crab theme. When the husbands are along, we aren't as adventurous; no one wants to listen to their spouse complain about someone else's cooking. Anyway, given enough libation, they're a fairly congenial lot, even when we declare "husbands cook". The fun then is in the descriptions provided of the dishes.

My assignment this month is a dessert. Desserts are coveted. No one is particularly fond of a new way with salad and veggies are second blah, uh, bad, but somehow we never tire of bringing dessert. Being near Valentine's, I found a recipe in the newspaper and have made a chocolate pie using 60% bittersweet chocolate and a little bit of cream cheese. It'll be topped with whipped cream. Tasting what was left in the bowl does not make me believe that this is an end-all-be-all chocolate pie, but somehow I think it'll be hard to keep the spouse out of it tonight neverthless.

I'll let you know how it stacks up tomorrow.

On the other hand, we've tried the next to last Bertolli in my arsenal, Shrimp Scampi and Linguine. Very good, but I'd still take the other shrimp, the Diavolo. Then I found another brand--okay, I had a coupon so I went looking for the other brand--Contessa. Two shrimp dishes.

Works for me.

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