Happy Christmas Eve/Chinese Food Day Eve, everyone!
Last night was a VERY special potluck dinner- for a few reasons- so today seemed as good a time as any to post.
First of all, it was the 10th anniversary of a tradition that began when Lindsay asked the question “…every year?” (love you Linz!) Funniest to me was the thought of how different we all are now than we were then…and yet how very much the same.
Sarah still has pretty hair-ah (and is incredibly photogenic).
Abby still takes photos of EVERYTHING.
Kat still hug-attacks EVERYONE.
Lindsay still hosts in beautiful fashion.
I still burn the dishes I cook and fail to wrap my presents.
Obviously we bear other similarities to our former selves. But it was amusing to me that we are leading such wildly different lives both from our high school selves and from each other, but we are still the same girls with the same friendships. It’s a rare common thread through all of our lives that really is something special.
Also making this year a little different and unique- we used to use that night to talk about crushes…and this year it was weddings! Half of us are officially on lockdown, with Sasha married and Abby and Lindsay now engaged (…but not to each other, I find it important to point out). I’ll leave out some details since Sasha was unable to make dinner this year and I don’t want to spoil it for her, but I teared up a bit once or twice. I warned the girls that 2014-2015 is just going to be a blur of Jessie-is-crying-again episodes.
Other highlights, as always, included the food, as well as the boys joining later in the night.
We were joined by the usuals- Stephen, Adam, and Bud. (Lindsay’s fiancee, Abby’s fiancee, and an old friend of the group, respectively). Also enjoying the festivities last night, however, were Daniel (pronounced “Dah-nyel,” he is Kat’s Swedish chef (HAH!) man friend), Brian (a close friend of Stephen and Lindsay with whom we also went to high school), another Stephen (another high school friend), and MATH!
Math being present really blew my mind. Most of us hadn’t seen him in over 4 years, and for the 4 years before that we were not social so seeing him in a social context for the first time in almost 10 years was crazy! Last time we hung with him really, he was a nutty smart kid with energy and eclectic music/wardrobe choices. Now, he’s a 10th grade English teacher. And a dad. Thrice over. I think my head is still spinning.
We also got some great date stories from some of the single folks. Those stories of course have dwindled over the years- as they should- but with the appearance of myself as well as a few single boys, it was nice to hear about some silly dating antics as well amidst the stability some of us are finding. It was just a really fantastic mix of life experiences conjoining last night, and I need to stop my yammering about it now, otherwise I’ll just go on forever 🙂
We all know my favorite bits are the food, so I’ll give a brief rundown of what everyone brought, as well as my recipes-
Sarah- [cheese] ball covered in nuts. We all know this was my favorite. She also brought tapenade and Ritz crackers but those are way less funny to say.
Abby- Roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts, with maple glaze. Abs also brought 2 bottles of pink bubbly!
Kat- a German gingerbread thing (really fresh gingerbread, the technical German name for which I do not recall at present).
Linz- Tofu loaf with carrots and onions, and wheat thins with horseradish hummus.
Me (Jess)- Curried spaghetti squash, and a layered Kit Kat chocolate mousse pie. Recipes below!
Curried Spaghetti Squash (from Food Network)
1 medium spaghetti squash (about 2 3/4 pounds)
1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons honey (start with 2.5 teaspoons, and add more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the cut-side down in a microwave-safe baking dish (the halves can overlap one another a bit) and add 1 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until very tender and a knife easily pierces the skin of the squash, 15 to 18 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Carefully uncover and let stand until cool enough to handle but still warm.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small nonstick skillet. Add the ginger and garam masala until fragrant. Stir in the lemon juice, then pour mixture into a bowl. Add first couple of teaspoons of honey as you continue to stir, then 1 teaspoon of salt. Add remaining honey and salt to taste; the sauce should be sweet and sour.
Scrape the flesh of the squash into a bowl, using a fork, to make long noodle-like strands. Toss with the sauce and cilantro. Season with additional salt.
*note- the above should create enough sauce for a relatively flavorful dish, but I had to make a second batch of sauce to adequately saturate the amount of squash I used, so pay attention to your portion size!
Layered Kit Kat Chocolate Mousse Pie
1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (I crush 15 wafers with a rolling pin inside of a Ziploc bag)
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 mini Kit Kat bars
Pour wafer crumbs into 9-inch pie pan. Drizzle melted butter onto crumbs and stir gently with a wooden spoon until crumbs are evenly saturated. Pat firmly against bottom and sides of pan.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Microwave 2 cups morsels and 3/4 cup cream in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Cool to room temperature.
Beat remaining cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in chilled small mixer bowl until soft peaks form. GENTLY fold 2 cups of your whipped cream mixture– LITTLE BY LITTLE- into chocolate mixture.
Next is my favorite part- the Kit Kats! You can either crush the candy bars and then put the now candy crumbs on top of the cooled crust, or you can break the Kit Kats into smaller chunks and add them as a layer that way.
On top of the Kit Kat layer, spoon mousse mixture. Gently spread so that it’s even, then refrigerate for an hour or two. Voila- delicious candy-themed mousse pie!
*When I have the time, I like to make extra whipped cream and put it in a Ziploc bag to decorate the pie- cut away the bottom corner of the bag and squirt mixture on top of pie at your aesthetic discretion!
I’ll post photos later, promise 🙂