When we first moved to Tucson in 2008 we didn't know a single soul here. It was a little strange as we'd left a very close knit group of friends and family back in South Carolina.
The next year we had moved to a new place nearby (just around the corner) so decided to do a "housewarming" with friends and our neighbors (which hadn't changed). We did barbecue and other treats like a Thai Chicken Satay and had a marvelous time.
This year, as May rolls around we're at it again. This time I'm taking some recipes from here at Sugar Pies and adding some new ones (which will be published after the party) and doing something I'm calling "Sweet Decadence." I think it will be great.
So far the menu is shaping up as follows:
Legare Street Punch
Malibu Rum Coconut Cake
Lemon Meringue Tart
Brie en Croute
Orange Mango Cupcakes with Chocolate Rum Ganache
The last item I'm still debating. I may do an iced Pate Sable or maybe a Raspberry Linzer Torte.
Friends who are attending are also bringing along a few items to add to the spread as well! It should be a great time.
When I looked at my menu, though, I realized it was going to be a decent amount of cooking. I really didn't want to spend half a day making Puff Pastry from scratch for the Brie en Croute and Choux. So, I decided to heed Ina Garten's advice and try the Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry Sheets. The only problem was finding them.
A.J.'s Fine Foods on Skyline Drive and try my luck. Surely, if anyone had puff pastry sheets in Tucson this high end grocer would.
Well, turns out they only carried small 5x5 sheets. Oh well, I fell in love with the store! The selection of hard to find gourmet ingredients was astounding. They also carry the full line of "Barefoot Contessa" mixes (although I prefer to use her recipes). But more wonderful in my eyes was a very nice patisserie. Yes, fresh baked goods, hand dipped truffles, and much more. I opted to get a couple Palmiers and Lemon Scones. Both were magnificent.
A.J.'s also features a full service fromagerie and boulangerie. They also have a fish monger and butcher. Simply, wonderful and decadent in a day and age where everything is precut, prepackaged, and made on an assembly line. I only wish my budget were up to shopping there more. After all, when a produce section looks like a work of art... well, who can resist?
So, back to work planning the party. Oh, and I did find my puff pastry sheets this morning when I stopped into Basha's near my house (irony!) and there they were! Whew! So, no half day of rolling, turning, resting, rolling, turning, resting.... ad infinitum!