I'm beginning to think that Pinterest is actually a plot by the Grinch to make us all sabotage our own Christmas celebrations. Bravo for coming into the modern age and utilizing technology to its finest. Why go through all that effort of stealing presents and roast beast when you can get them to hand make shitty gifts not worth giving and post recipes for a Christmas hash that no Who in Whoville would touch?!
Also a valid theory.
Sidenote: Did I mention I live in Germany now? My husband Brice and I decided to do our world traveling before kids rather than after when we're retired and, more importantly, old. So we quit our jobs and moved in with his sister who works for the military in Germany. It's our very own romantic running away together for an adventure kind of tale. It's also possibly insane. But for our purposes here, it explains why our Christmas festivities only include cooking for friends & no crazy relative stories. And partly why the meal revolves around pork and potatoes.
Appetizers Only dinner. Fun, light, great for a friends-dinner. Oh, and a heavy soup...
For a while we thought it would just be the 3 of us and my friend Mary who now teaches on an army base a few hours away. We decided to do an Appetizer only menu for our wedding as well, so naturally I thought it was a brilliant plan. (Except we called it "heavy hors d'ouvres" because using French makes it fancy.) But my sister-in-law Brooke decided she also wanted to make her potato soup. This didn't really fit into the plan of no formal dinner since it's a little more difficult to stand and mingle whilst eating soup... but she was excited about it, so that's fine.
- Cheese plate & crackers
- Veggie cream cheese pizza squares
- Chicken nachos
- Pizza bites
- German salad (Brice's request - hey if we're doing soup, we can do a salad too)
- Potato Soup
Schwenkbraten in its true German form involves a swinging grill, onions, and lots of paprika. The Germans love their paprika. Anything that comes in flavors, like potato chips, will have a paprika flavored option. The internet is conflicted on what cut of meat it should be. I've learned the word "roast" means a host of different things to different people. My experience with it tells me the people who says it's a neck or shoulder cut are correct. Tough and grisly. Possibly because they are German pigs and have put in their work on the farm before they are sent to be turned into steaks. It would be unGermanlike to waste such an animal by just letting it sit around and get fat all day. Then serve it on a rock hard piece of bread. Excuse me, brotchen. I actually like almost all the bread I've had here. Seriously, not a place for the low-carb dieters. But the schwenk, already tough to eat, demands more effort from your jaw.
When Pinterest rears its ugly head.
Don't get me wrong, I love Pinterest. It is a time-wasters best friend. You can look up how to do almost anything on it. Except maybe how to grow a beard. Though you can concern your family by making shit like this. Or you can think that because 237 people repinned something, they must have all made it too and been just as successful as the original poster & maker of the selected recipe/scarf/treehouse.
My responsibilities mostly revolved around desserts, possibly so people were too full to eat them or could claim being too full and politely decline to finish should they get a disaster. I chose to make Chicken nachos, Pizza bites, Basement Brownies, Pecan-Raisin Mini-Tarts, Grandma's Gingersnap cookies.
Comparisons of what it's supposed to look like and what actually happened.
Basement Brownies - recipe called for a 9x9 pan. I made it in a 9x13 pan because 1) that's what Brooke had, and 2) it better accommodates serving a group of people. By that I mean you can cut them into more than 9 squares so it's not an awkward battle for the last one. But extending them means they didn't set up well. Still taste good; they are brownies afterall.
Chicken Nacho Bites - I didn't even attempt to follow a recipe on this. You get the idea. Just cooked some chicken with a seasoning packet, mixed with some salsa. Put in a tortilla scoop and a glop of avocado ranch on top. Would've been better with a glop of sour cream and real avocado, but my resources are limited here. Still one of the more popular items; go simplicity!
Gingersnap Cookies - Actually got changed to Apple Gingerbread Muffins because we found out one of the guests was also bringing dessert - the one thing we have plenty of. Little dry. Maybe add some applesauce. Not nearly as good as the spinach mushroom quiche Mary made - will have to try that sometime!
Take that, Grinch!