Monday, May 4, 2009

party like it's 1899

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I threw a birthday party for the great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. To fete Herr Hayek properly, we served a loosely authentic Austrian menu. So we had six Austrian wines; plenty of Gosser and Steigl; and one of our guests brought Eggenberg, another fine Austrian beer.

Our food menu included:

Endive with walnut vinaigrette. Good, but not horribly exciting. Salads are like that.

Cold sausages with mustard and peppers.

An invention of my own: take chicken breasts and sprinkle heavily with paprika. Put half a stick of butter on top of each breasts. Bake at 350 for one hour. After chicken cools, cut into bite-size pieces and insert a toothpick into each piece. Serve with sour cream and chives for dipping.

Mushroom strudel. Not really sure how it turned out, because I didn't get to eat any. That probably speaks well of it.

Crackers with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Smoked salmon is always a good idea.

Cheese plate with grapes. None of the cheeses were Austrian, I fear. We had Brie, Boursin, Humboldt Fog, and Purple Haze. Yes, I know I serve the same four cheeses at all my parties. But they are good cheeses, so I don't really care.

Desserts included my mother's kifles, the recipe for which is a state secret and will not be posted here. Also Linzertorte and Sachertorte. Each tasted good and looked impressive on the serving platter, but I'm not sure I'd make either recipe again. I had barely enough base dough to cover the springform pan for the Linzertorte, and my diamond lattice was also a tad on the skimpy side.

People devoured the Sachertorte, so they must have appreciated it. Still, the cake was a bit too thin and too crumbly to slice evenly into layers; I ended up rather hastily cobbling it together. I'd want to try other recipes to see if they get around the problem.

If possible, there will be another one next year, if only because palindromes are the best.

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