After the Party

After the party I gathered up the dishes and tossed them away, put the glasses and silverware into the dishwasher, then returned the chairs back where they belonged. I wiped the counters, did a slow pirouette and found all was in order — just as tidy as before my guests arrived. Now that’s the perfect kind of party!

Once a month we gather at someone’s house to share fun, laughter and food! We call it “Cooking Club” and we have a theme for each party. The first gathering was a “whatever” potluck. We all snatched “whatever” from our fridges and took it to Mariposa’s house to eat by the pool. At that gathering we discussed the theme for the next party — and decided upon cocoa. Every dish had to have cocoa in the recipe.

I made chicken mole with rice. Mariposa put together a spice rub for vegetables and grilled them. The Clarks made spiced nuts for the appetizer. The other couple flaked out on us, so at the last minute Mariposa mixed up a batch of brownies for dessert.

At that gathering we decided the theme for the next one — and since the only day we all had free was Mother’s Day, we decided the theme was, the guys cook. The guys decided their theme was tropical fruits. OC made the appetizer. He wrapped bacon around pineapple and broiled it, then added a yummy sauce. He also tossed together a salad of cauliflower, broccoli, tangerine slices and pineapple bits. Everybody was surprised at how well the flavors merged. The Clarks made baked chicken with pineapple salsa. It was yummy. Mariposa’s boyfriend made his last appearance at that party. He brought mango tea and baked a lemon poppy seed cake.

And for Sunday night’s gathering the theme was picnic foods. OC couldn’t understand why I was so insistent the house sparkle when we were supposed to be outside, but it has rained here every afternoon for two weeks. I didn’t expect party day to be any different — and I was right. Seconds after the guys grabbed the basketball and went out for some hoops, the skies opened up and drenched them.

So, the party gathered in our living room. The Clarks brought an Italian pasta salad. Their daughter (10) made a jello-fruit salad. Mariposa brought grilled chicken and cantaloupe. Wiley — a gentleman from church who has recently moved here and didn’t know better than to accept our invitation — brought Key Lime pie. I made Fiesta Shrimp Salad. The recipe is below (sorry, I forgot to photograph the salad until after its remains were in the leftover container):

Fiesta Shrimp Salad
[click here for larger photo]

1 pound shimp, cooked and shelled
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 large cucumbers, peeled & diced
1/2 cup cliantro, chopped
juice from two lemons
salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let marinate for several hours. Serve chilled on lettuce leaf.

(This makes quite a large salad, make certain you’ve company coming or you’ll be eating it forever.)