Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Pie, Pie, Everywhere A Pie

Written by Patti on November 6th, 2009

When our darling friend, RayRay, accepted an invitation for dinner at our house, I wanted to make something cozy for  him. Like a hug.  It would be the first time I had seen him since we had arrived home from L.A.   It is really getting cold here in Atlanta (49F last night!) so hearty fare was definitely called for.

In my mind, Shepherd’s Pie filled the bill (or fit the bill? which one is it? i can never remember).  Now, I know Shepherd’s Pie calls for lamb, but I didn’t have any lamb.  So ground beef would have to do.  Eric let me know this would be considered Cottage Pie.  So, Cottage Pie it would be.  A fresh, green salad would be a terrific starter. For dessert?  I got the skinny (although skinny is an ironic word to use here) on sweet Brooke’s ooey, gooey butterscotch pie.  Go visit Miss Brooke at Tongue-N-Cheeky.  She is too creative and adorable to believe. Truly – go check her out. That is your blogging homework for the day.

Rounding out our dinner party was, of course, Miss DeVore (everybody loves this girl!)  Now, Miss DeVore has a new beau and would you believe me if I told you that he had been RayRay’s mentor at his early days at CNN? What are the chances? It’s crazy! They just visited all night about everyone they knew.  You know I love when that happens!  As they gabbed it up, Eric and I heard our wedding song, “At Last,” by Etta James, playing on the radio. We excused ourselves to “clear the table,” and sneaked in a little slow dance by the sink. We’re mushy like that. I don’t think we were missed.

Shall I share some photos? Yes, I think I shall!

Shepherd’s Pie first. This is so easy to make.

Carrots, onion, mushrooms, celery sauteing

Carrots, onion, mushrooms, celery sauteing

1 lb of ground beef gets added to the mix

1 lb of ground beef gets added to the mix

I also added some canned peas to fill it out.  Then I boiled about 4 big yukon gold potatoes and threw a handful of grated cheese into them after they were mashed. Mmmmm….cheesy potatoes!

Fluffy, tatery, goodness!

Fluffy, tatery, goodness!

Before you assemble the dish, take a can of cream of mushroom soup and pour it into the beef and veggie mixture to make a sauce (I never claimed this was gourmet cuisine).  Then take your prettiest casserole dish and pour the beef mixture into it and smooth the potatoes on top.  I sprinkled some paprika on top of mine to make it look fancy. Take a look.

Nom, nom, nom

Nom, nom, nom

I baked it in a 375F oven for an hour. It was all bubbly and gorgeous when it came out. Despite the fact that I forgot to put the casserole dish on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings. Yes, the smoke alarm went off. And no, none of our guests seemed to be fazed by it. That’s good wine!

Dessert was so delicious!  Here is the pie recipe straight from Tongue-N-Cheeky herself, Miss Brooke.  Have you clicked on the button to see her site? I’m going to hound you until you do. You will totally thank me for it.

Bet-Yer-Bottom-Dollar Butterscotch Pie

  • 1 Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • Caramel Ice-Cream Topping
  • Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Press crust into the bottom of a pie pan, cutting off excess around the edges.  In a large bowl, beat together eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in butterscotch chips.

Pour into prepared crust.  Bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes. If crust becomes too brown while baking, cover lightly with tin foil. Remove from oven, allowing center of pie to fully set as it cools.

Drizzle warm pie with caramel sauce & a dollop of whipped cream before serving.

Now I have been exceedingly busy as of late, so I skipped the caramel sauce and whipped cream (what was I thinking??), but it was loved by all. And it went together in a snap.  I added a few chocolate chips to mine.  Pictures, please!

Tender crunch on the outside, ooey, gooeyness on the inside!

Tender crunch on the outside, ooey, gooeyness on the inside!

My only issue with it was that the crust browned too quickly. And I am not talented with making aluminum foil into covers for said crust.  But, I tried and it came out pretty well.  I have got to get some of those pie crust shields. Like these. I would probably bake more pie if I had this handy little gadget.

All in all, a good time was had by everyone. As I was washing the wine glasses from last night, I mused on how to dry those darn decanters.  There happened to be a Perrier bottle sitting by the sink, so I thought I would cover it with a dish rag and see how the decanter dries on it.  So far, so good. Just remember to push it back on the counter so it doesn’t get bumped.  I suppose you could also use a hair dryer to get it super dry, but who has time to do that?

Decanter Drying 101

Decanter Drying 101

There you go, Darlings!  How do you like our new site?  You should be able to leave comments now without sacrificing a limb, so please say hello.

Happy Friday!!

xoxo, Patti


8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Erika says:

    Your new blog looks great!!!! You guys picked a very cool theme. Great tip on the decanter by the way. Perfect!

  2. Miss DeVore says:

    You crazy kids! Muah!

  3. Patti says:

    Comments! Thanks, Erika and Miss D. Hugs!!

  4. Holly says:

    Love the new blog site – don’t have to have a gmail account to comment! Everything looks yummy!!

    Love ya!

  5. Patti says:

    Ohhhh! My Holly is here!! Super hugs!!

  6. Parri says:

    “At Last”…that was the song that Holly and Rich danced to at their wedding! Love the new site design!

  7. Patti says:

    Thanks, Parri! xoxox

  8. Ray Macon says:

    Wow…and what a great time I had at the dinner party! Thanks again, it was awesome, and the conversation fun.
    Rayray Macon/Printer