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All year I dream of holiday parties.
And now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the time is here.
One night I visited the Fitzgeralds, along around 30 to 50 other guests, including friends and family in three different generations. The food included hors d’oeuvres and finger food. I myself love hors d’oeuvre but I am not good about making them. My friend Priscilla Martel’s friend, Gillian Duffy, who was food editor for New York magazine, wrote a book on small bites, called Hors d’Oeuvres, and I have a copy of the book, but it always seemed too difficult to make them, and also come up with an entrée, sides, and dessert. As a result, I often ask people coming to my house for dinner to bring the appetizers. But at Kat and Mike’s house, I was in heaven: two of the most delicious were made with canned chicken and cheese; one also had blue cheese and hot sauce, the other cream cheese minus the spice. There was a healthy corn relish dish with jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, and lime juice. I bought egg salad finger sandwiches.
Another night I attended a meatloaf dinner, an intimate get-together of 35. The meatloaf was amazing, as were the sides many of us brought: corn pudding, homemade bread, a salad made with everything needed for a taco (my favorite), potato salad and, for dessert, seven pies, and a chocolate cake. Oh, did I mention all the booze you can imagine. The hostess always has my drug of choice: Coca-Cola Zero. I drank three of them, one before, one during, and one after dinner.
The hostess had promised me the meatloaf recipe, but her friends and family said she never gives it to anyone. All she told me was that the magic bullet is the Peter Luger steak sauce. On the other hand, at the Fitzgerald’s house Kat gave me her mother-in-law’s recipe for another meatloaf. It looked great. I made it and it is a stunner. Maybe, if I ever get the other one, I will write about that one, too.
Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sicilian Meat Roll
From Peg Fitzgerald of Noank
This recipe comes from a magazine several years ago, possibly Better Homes and Gardens
2 beaten eggs
¾ cup soft bread crumbs
½ cup tomato juice
½ teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons’ snipped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon each salt and freshly grated black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds lean ground beef
8 thin slices boiled ham
6 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 slices mozzarella cheese, halved diagonally
Combine eggs, bread crumbs, tomato juice, spices, and garlic. Mix in ground beef. Pat meat into a 12-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Arrange ham slices, then shredded mozzarella on top. Start from short end and roll up meat. Seal edges and ends. Place seam-side down on a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until done. Place cheese wedges over the top and return to oven until cheese melts.
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