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

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A Weekend Snapshot

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Good Morning Darlings!

Happy Monday to you all. I hope your weekend was stupendous. The weather in Atlanta was ridiculously beautiful and we had lots of fun.

Friday night, Eric and I had ourselves a little date night and went to see the movie Red. This was a hoot. Lots of things blowing up and Helen Mirren as an assassin. What more could you possibly ask for? After the movie we ducked into Fox Grille at Atlantic Station for a drink and to catch up on all the games. Did you see the Yankees against the Rangers? Unbelievable.

Saturday, Eric had a haircut scheduled, so we had a cup of coffee together and off he went. I went across the street to take pictures of our neighborhood park being landscaped by our wonderful neighbors. When he returned, we picked up Valerie and took the MARTA to the Little Five Points Halloween Parade. This is always a a great time, with loads of costume ideas to be inspired by.

Eric, Valerie, Curtis, Me at the parade

To enjoy the parade, click here

Watermelon Kegs With Curtis

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

My friend Curtis is a hoot – he is always coming up with new ideas for food. Last week he thought it would be cool to make a watermelon keg and fill it with champagne. I invited him over to build it at our house so I could document the entire process.

First, you need a watermelon. Check.

Okay, We've Got the Melon

This Is So Cool, Come On In

July 4th Weekend-Part Two

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

On day one, after spending the afternoon on the Crush Pad with Doug, Sharon and Chef Dairen, we drove home to Atlanta where Eric had made dinner reservations at Abbatoir. It was a splendid affair, although no pictures. A couple needs to have some private time, after all.

But on Sunday, we made our favorite baked potato salad and headed over to Jay and Valerie’s house for their fabulous fried chicken, and Curtis’ world famous pulled pork and lots of other goodies. And of course, I brought my camera!

She's A Grand Old Flag, She's A High Flying Flag....

Join Me Inside For Some Tasty Treats!

Guest Blogger – Curtis on The Meat Chronicles

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I hope your weekend was sublime.  Mine certainly was – I spent the weekend at The Ritz-Carlton, Reynolds Plantation researching a story for the debut issue of Design Is, for which I will be writing a monthly column called Living The Ritz Life. It’s a tough job, but someone must be in charge of reviewing the posh resorts and spa treatments. Of course I will keep you informed as we inch closer to the magazine’s launch in September.  Today I will be writing furiously so I can convey every detail of my visit to you. It is with extreme pleasure I reintroduce you to my friend, Curtis, the bon vivant of Adair Park, who will give you a no-fail recipe for pork. Curtis writes the often hilarious blog, Complete Waste of Time, wherein he regales us with tales from Atlanta. But today, it’s all about the pork. Take it away Curtis!

Fun With Curtis Inside

Guest Blogger – Curtis and His Deconstructed Paella

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Good Morning, Darlings!

Today we have a guest blogger – my hilarious blogging (and real life) friend Curtis from over at Complete Waste of Time. If you remember, Curtis and I made carrot curd together. If that piqued your interest, his cautionary tale of deconstructed cuisine will slay you. I laughed until my sides hurt upon reading his story.

I think you will, too.


xoxo, Patti

Hungry and Waiting for Paella

Hungry and Waiting for Paella

Paella Calamity

St. Augustine defined pride as: love of one’s own excellence. Pride I have in excess. Imagination I also have in excess. Cooking technique I do not. Don’t get me wrong, I cook quite well. But every so often I decide to leave the safety of my tried and true abilities for the culinary unknown. When I’m at my best, I do this at the most inopportune time.
This whole fiasco begins with an episode of Bravo’s Top Chef series. They did an episode based around deconstruction. Each chef chose a classical dish and had to deconstruct it as part of the competition. The losing dish was a horrid failing of paella.

Seeing this I decide that I can do better than the trained chef on television and will make it myself. But for what occasion? Paella is a pretty big dish and you don’t just make it on a Wednesday night. And considering I’ve never made it before, I let my imagination run wild with the possibilities. The occasion presented itself in a trip to a cabin in Blue Ridge, Ga. According to the website, the cabin had a well appointed kitchen with every pot and pan needed except a paella pan. But I’m deconstructing so I wouldn’t need it.

Failure or Disaster? Keep reading ->

Carrot Curd and Pumpkin Bread

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Ahhh, the chill in the air, the leaves falling, unpacking the sweaters and the Uggs.  I love Autumn.  The turn of the season from the hot days of Summer bring the cool, orange and brown days of Fall.  This means heartier cooking, substantial dishes from your kitchen that will stick to your ribs. Yesterday was like that.

I was craving the first loaf of pumpkin bread this season so I went to the cupboard and wrangled all the ingredients for one perfect loaf.  It was silky, lush and dense.  Sound good? Here’s the recipe, Darlings:

Perfect Pumpkin Bread


1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp each of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger (or more if you like it really spicy, like me)

Preheat oven to 350F

  1. Mix wet ingredients and spices
  2. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl
  3. Combine wet and dry ingredients
  4. Pour into greased loaf pan
  5. Bake for 60 minutes

Voila! You’ve got a snack the entire family will love!

I’ll take a few better pictures of that today.  I get so excited by the finished product that sometimes I forget to take the photos. Color me chagrinned, but happy.

I had another treat yesterday in the form of friend and neighbor Curtis asking to stop by for some culinary advice. But of course!  Curtis is a great cook and had challenged a co-worker to a cake-off. The contest – Curtis bet he could beat her best cake recipe.  Her best cake recipe – Carrot Cake. Curtis has been searching online for recipes and every one he read said he needed to put in crushed pineapple, which, when discussing said contest at a recently attended dinner party,  Curtis was asked by a food writer if he was going to use crushed pineapple, which she found to be abhorrent.  Luckily, none of my cookbooks referred to using any pineapple, which was a relief.  But just baking a plain old carrot cake isn’t enough for Curtis. He’s a pioneer, a risk taker.  He wanted to stretch the boundaries of the imagination.  We started brainstorming and came up with the idea of making carrot curd. Now, I have never even heard of carrot curd, but we googled it and Curtis found a recipe that seemed more savory than sweet. So we decided to riff on my lemon curd recipe and see what happened.  Here’s how it went down:

First, the proper ingredients.  I try to keep my kitchen well stocked so I can bake or cook something at a moment’s notice.

Lemon curd uses zest and lemon juice for its zing. How to do that with the carrots? Curtis thought it would be good to shred the carrot, squeeze the juice and then toast the shredded carrot for extra flavor. Great idea.  I thought it would be cool to use dark brown sugar instead of white for added depth. Another great idea. This afternoon was the kitchen equivalent of musicians jamming together – it was a creative meeting of culinary minds and it was coming together like smooth jazz.

Here’s Curtis toasting the carrot:

The recipe for all you seekers of the unsual:

Carrot Curd

7 large eggs yolks, plus 2 large eggs
1 cup, plus 2 TBSP dark brown sugar
2/3 cup carrot juice (or 1/3 cup carrot juice, 1/3 cup orange juice)
1 large grated carrot
1/2 stick butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Pinch of salt

In a medium non-reactive bowl, whish together the yolks and whole eggs until until combined
Add sugar and whisk until combined
Add juices, carrot and a pinch of salt, whisk until combined
Transfer mixture to a medium non-reactive saucepan, add the butter pieces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency
Immediately pour through a sieve, that is place over a large bowl. Stir in heavy cream.  Jar and refrigerate immediately.

How was it? Luscious, delectible, crazy tasty.  Like Autumn on a spoon.  We spooned some over slices of pumpkin bread and all you could hear was silence. Our mouths were full.  My mama raised me not to talk with a mouth full of pumpkin bread spread with carrot curd….some might fall out!

Some more pics for you:

Thanks, Curtis, for coming up with this fabulous idea. You are welcome in my kitchen anytime.

The rest of you – step out of the box and try something that seems undoable. I know you can do it!

xoxo, Patti