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My first dinner party

April 22, 2009

Most girls fantasize about their weddings.  They scour the catalogs, malls, and internet for the perfect dress.  They find it.  They are relieved.  But they keep looking at dresses.  They can’t stop.  They find another perfect dress.  They buy it and sell the first one on Craigslist.

They write and re-write guests lists.  They chart and re-chart seating arrangements for the reception.  Flowers, candles, stationary.  Music, food, photography.  Cake.  The brides-to-be go crazy.

I wasn’t that girl.  Are you surprised?

Foodies fantasize about their first dinner party.  Write and re-write menus.  Assign certain dishes and platters to specific entrees and appetizers.  Fold and re-fold napkins.  Calculate baking time and temperature for the most efficient use of your one-oven kitchen (okay, maybe not everyone does that, just me, but I am a nerd, so there).

Now, my closest family members live a couple of states away, so my first dinner party has been a long time coming (because we all know that the in-laws are most newlywed’s first dinner guests).

And when the time for my first dinner came, it wasn’t for my family members or in-laws (I know, I know, they missed out big time.  What they don’t know won’t kill them).  But being the true foodie that I had planned the menu for my first dinner party long before the time came:

Hors d’oeuvres

Brie en crute

First Course

Sopa de Tomillo

Main Course

Beef Bourguignon
Chicken Francias
Chickpea Tomato and Potato Ragout

-served with a creamy risotto and roasted vegetables medley


I don’t do desserts.  Fend for yourself.  I cooked meat for you, darn it!  MEAT!  Don’t complain!

okay, I’ll admit it, I totally just made that menu up in the last 45 seconds to intimidate you.  Moving on.

And then the day came: the day I was to cook for my first dinner party. Unfortunately, the crowd and event for which I was cooking wasn’t exactly cut out for such an eclectic menu.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So what if all my dreams were flushed down the drain?  I had to started from scratch:

I made Sloppy Joes. Can we say complete 180*? Nonetheless, I took this opportunity to make the best darn Sloppy Joes and Snobby Joes possible south of the Mason Dixon line, complete with homemade hamburger buns.


Hamburger Buns Branny Style

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 packet or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
1.5 cups bread flour
1 cups AP flour
2 tsp vital wheat gluten

egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)


Omnivore-style Hamburger buns (read: all white flour)

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 packet or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoons salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
sesame, poppy or caraway seeds or coarse salt (optional)

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 9 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds.

For soft-sided buns, place them on a well-seasoned baking sheet a half inch apart so they’ll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.

Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F.

Cool on a wire rack.

Both recipes make 9 buns.  Both recipes adapted from King Arthur

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 11:43 am

    Hahaha, I love it! I’ll bet these were great for sloppy joes!

  2. thecookingnurse permalink
    April 22, 2009 12:30 pm

    You’re hamburger buns look great!

  3. April 22, 2009 6:15 pm

    your buns look good (not trying to be funny – i promise). i am not a very good bread maker, but i would love to try these.

  4. joelen permalink
    April 23, 2009 8:16 am

    I love dinner parties! Congrats on yours and your hamburger buns look great… I have yet to make buns so I hope to try these out soon!

  5. The 'Vore permalink
    April 25, 2009 2:59 pm

    Eating well has its benefits…..her buns do look good 🙂


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