Alright, I'll admit it. I'm fairly obsessed with FreshDirect. I've spoken of my love previously here on Evenings With Peter so I won't belabor the point. Suffice to say, I won a House Party promotion from them and threw the event. Besides a $100 e-gift certificate to use for the food I ordered, I received a Party Pack that included reusable shopping bags, special offer brochures, notepads, aprons and a host of recipes that all our guests took home. We also giddily raffled off a FreshDirect oven mitt!
FreshDirect asked us to choose a theme, so Baby and I went retro with Pot Luck and things that people used to bring to actual house parties ever so long ago.
Pigs in a Blanket
Mac n' Cheese
Green Bean Casserole
Vanilla Ice Cream
Although the basic set up for our menu was simple enough, everything we made was slightly different and there were no chafing dishes involved.
Produce played its part on the table and I put herbs such as rosemary, dill, and parsley in a pitcher instead of flowers.
Hebrew National franks filled Pillsbury crescent crusts and our Mac outfitted with Campbell's cheese soup was scooped out in individual spoons.
The green bean casserole however did not involve Campbell's mushroom soup; it was a riff, made instead with creamy bechamel sauce and we sauteed our own wild bunch of mushrooms in butter and olive oil. Refined haricot verts subbed for everyday green beans and I frizzled fresh shallots instead of using Durkee's onions from the can. The bechamel in preparation...
The finished dish!
The meatloaf was pulled from an old Martha Stewart recipe that I love, with homemade tomato jam for slathering. Cut to the chase and use a judicious amount (a scant tablespoon) of Chinese Five-Spice Powder instead of dealing with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves and star anise. I used homemade bread crumbs I already had on hand, mixed with panko breadcrumbs as well. Also, I subbed celery salt for celery and didn't use additional salt at all, as the recipe suggests. Here's the meatloaf, about to go in the oven.
Of course, I had to light something on fire. Ben & Jerry's gorgeous vanilla ice cream came out with ripe blackberries and burnt walnuts in a flaming buerre noisette sauce with brandy. It was so much fun.
Baby looked rather sporting in his apron.
A hundred dollars fed ten people (actually it was $99.66, like on The Price Is Right--the items I ordered didn't go over). And it was fabulous. Fresh Direct. Get to it.
Fresh Soundtrack: Herb Alpert, Whipped Cream and Other Delights; Mongo Santamaria, Watermelon Man; Lettuce, Rage; Parliament, Greatest Hits; Prince, Lovesexy.
After weathering a soul-shredding career as a theatrical agent that lasted entirely too long, Mr. Sherwood left his stable of actors from the stage and screen and went on to pursue his literary aspirations. He is currently the dining editor for Next magazine (nextmagazine.com) where he writes a weekly restaurant review column which also features Manhattan's best food and drink recipes from the finest chef's and bartenders on the island. In 2010 he was published in Foodista’s Best of Food Blogs Cookbook. He toiled as web editor for industry leader Interior Design magazine for several years and has also written for New York magazine, Travel & Leisure and Woman’s Day.
A proud graduate of the University of New Hampshire, one of the nation’s top drinking schools, Mr. Sherwood also studied voice and theater abroad at Regent’s College, in London’s historic Regent’s Park, and at the Royal Academy of Music. He spent a year at Hunter College in Manhattan.
Mr. Sherwood recently published his first novel, the pale of memory, available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and iUniverse.com. He is in the midst of writing a second.
Twitter/tweet/twat him @kaleidabox