Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Our $20 Dinner Party, part 1

Harvest Happy.

The Menu:
Roasted Acorn Squash
Curried Sweet Potatoes
Beet Greens
Bread Pudding for dessert

The Southern Way:
Close your eyes, count to 3, and pretend boxed wine never happened.

The Grocery List (all store brands):
4 acorn squash
5 sweet potatoes
3 beets with the greens
cheap white bread
1  pint of milk
a carton of 6 eggs
brown sugar
bargain cinnamon and curry
1 lb. butter
1 small onion
1 box of dirt cheap wine

Back in February, alternative event planning guru, Lindsey Huddleston, and I decided we were going to throw a $20 dinner party.  After 2 weeks of scavenging and planning we did it and are here to report back.  Following is what we did for the food and drink.  Stay tuned for another post on decor and mood-setting by Lindsey.

and fun was had by all.
Since we had given ourselves a budget of $20 for 8 people we knew we had to leave out the meat.  Instead of filling our plates with starches, we decided to go harvest happy and fill our plates with colorful vegetables.

We asked the wine store if they had any cheap, closeout wines.  As it turns out, they had a $14 box of wine that was marked down to $6.  The man at the wine store explained that this wine was so cheap because they were no longer carrying that wine with that particular label and were liquidating the boxes merely because they had the old label.  Should you find yourself too fancy for box wine you'll need to take the Southern approach for your $20 dinner party: close your eyes, count to 3, and pretend that boxed wine never happened.  Once it's in your crystal decanter you can pretend it was a bottle from the cellar of the Queen.

Following are instructions for our dinner.  I didn't measure anything, but I didn't think it necessary.

Check back soon.  Lindsey is going to tell us a bit about how to make your dinner area inviting and lovely, using things found around your house or local thrift store.

Roasted Acorn Squash
turn oven up to 400.  Place squash in the oven and allow to bake until finished (about 30 minutes).  Allow to cool, cut in 1/2, and scrape out the seeds.  20 minutes before serving, turn oven on to 250, put 1 teaspoon of butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar into the cavity and allow to bake until it reaches your desired serving temperature.

Curried Sweet Potatoes
Chop the sweet potatoes into 1 x 1 cubes.  Chop up your small onion and place it in casserole dish with the potatoes.  sprinkle with cinnamon, curry, and salt and mix, making sure the seasoning is equally distributed.  Dot the top of the mixture generously with butter.  Allow to bake on 400 until soft.  Add raisins.  Heat with Acorn Squash before serving.

Cut the beets from the greens and boil until soft.  Once beets are finished, drop in greens and allow to cook.  Slice beets and drizzle with a mixture of butter, salt, and brown sugar.

Bread Pudding
Cut the crust off of the bread, then cut into cubes and place in your casserole dish.  Add raisins to bread cubes.  Make a mixture of your milk, 5 eggs, 1/2 c. brown sugar and any other flavors you'd like to add.  I had some dark rum in the cupboard, so I mixed rum with mine.  Dot the top generously with butter and bake on 350.

Lindsey Huddleston:
Photography by John Yates

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