Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Harry Potter Gives Thanks

As I mentioned in my review, in the hours preceding the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One, I served up a themed feast of Harry Potter proportions.  Okay, it wasn’t quite as amazing as something the Hogwarts house elves could have done and my efforts are, admittedly, shadowed by Mrs. Weasley, but it’s still better than the cooking that the trio did in their tent while traipsing around the kingdom.  And now, my lucky readers, I’m going to show you how to make a meal of equally epic proportions for your own Harry Potter party!  You know, in case you want to have a Harry Potter release party after the movie’s release.  Or, er, for the release of Part Two.

The husband and me Tom Ridde and Hannah Abbott
Costumes made by my lovely sister-in-law!
The following will also show you why Soy Chai Bookshelf, once a food/book blog, has settled into a solely literary-inspired effort.  Suffice it to say that I did not take a single picture of all the food that I served up at the party meaning that we will have to rely on my words to convey the experience to you.  How un-foodie of me.

One more thing – why did I choose to name the Facebook event for my party and this post “Harry Potter Gives Thanks”?  Well, I chose not to give my annual Thanksgiving party in lieu of my super-cool Harry Potter party, but I wanted a nod to tradition.  Also, pumpkin pie.  Most of the food was Harry Potter-inspired, but as intriguing as pumpkin pasties sound, I really just wanted to stick with my own version of the classic American pie.

So the first course was not actually themed, contrary to previous claims.  We started off with a yummy cannellini bean dip from 1,001 Low-Fat Vegetarian Recipes that the husband loves, along with Triscuits and crudités.  The dip is smooth and creamy, impossibly easy to make (all you need is a food processor), and amazing with roasted garlic and just a hint of horseradish.  (I apologize, but I can't find the recipe online and I am unwilling to violate copyright laws.)  Next to this were Shrooms: a recipe for deep-fried herbed cream cheese-stuffed mushrooms based on the Houlihan’s recipe, served with an amazing horseradish dip.  These went over like hotcakes.  Seriously.  After everybody had two each, there was fighting and yelling and talk of a Harry Potter trivia-off to determine what two lucky people would get a third Shroom (sadly, one of the contenders actually hasn’t read the books so, in deference to her, we did not get to showcase our knowledge).  These were a little labor-intensive, so save ‘em for special occasions.  Like the release of Deathly Hallows, Part Two.

Now onto the actual Harry Potter-inspired food.  The next course was an a-freaking-mazing curried pumpkin soup (because pumpkin juice just sounds gross).  It’s smooth and creamy and the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.  I stirred in coconut milk instead of cream just before serving.  It was also nice to escape the normal pumpkin flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg, especially considering the pumpkin pie waiting patiently for its turn to shine.  This is just as good with butternut squash so if you can't find the elusive cheese pumpkin, never fear.  This recipe is also a bit labor-intensive, what with hacking apart a freaking pumpkin, but well worth the effort.

The main course was Shepherd’s Pie, a dish the Hogwarts elves are known to occasionally serve up.  This was good, though not quite as amazing as when my mom made it (so get your mom to make it for you and just enjoy the Harry Potter goodness).  I also served it with sautéed broccoli, a food that I am certain no character in Harry Potter has ever heard of but hey – I like green things.

Dessert was pumpkin pie (which I make with a graham cracker crust…mmmm), or course, and a traditional-ish English trifle.  The trifle is incredibly easy – just take a trifle dish (or individual parfait glasses) and layer your favorite recipe for spongecake with your chosen flavor of pudding or custard, fruit, and jam. You can even soak the cake in booze if you want to be super-crazy.  I used yellow spongecake from Vegan Yum Yum, chocolate pudding from a box, thawed frozen raspberries (it’s November, people), and raspberry jam.  This was even better the second day, so definitely save yourself time the day of your party and make this ahead of time.  If you want to get really fancy, you could make a treacle tart (Harry’s dessert of choice).  I didn’t because it sounds kinda gross to me.  Refined sugar run-off pie?  No thanks.

But wait, that’s not all!  This was an all-adult party, meaning all-adult versions of Harry Potter drinks!  We had cider, like you’d find in a British pub, pumpkin ale (another nod to pumpkin juice), and grown-up Butterbeer!  I know I gave the recipe in another post but it’s just so yummy I’ll give it to you again!

1 oz butterscotch schnapps
1 oz vodka
fill the glass with cream soda
optional: a little bit of cream (I used Silk creamer)
It’s very sweet but very delicious.  If it’s too sweet you can substitute some of the cream soda with seltzer but that will make it less rich, though still yummy.  For the underaged, use butterscotch syrup instead of the booze.

So there you have it!  A Harry Potter feast you yourself can make at home!  To make it even better, threaten to withhold food from your guests unless they wear costumes.  As horribly nerdy and ridiculous as this sounds, it was actually a lot of fun.  We mocked ourselves, behaved sillily (that’s a word, right?), and made fun of the sixth movie, which we had on in the background.  All in all?  A great way to stay awake in time for a midnight release!
Professor Snape and Luna Lovegood;
Luna also had a Quibbler with her!
We also had an “underrepresented Asian” Gryffindor student, an unnamed female Slytherin, and Tonks (kind of), but I am far too lazy to ask everybody’s permission to put their faces on my blog.  In fact, I didn’t even ask the husband (largely because I don’t have to).  Bwahaha, I love being married.

1 comment:

  1. It was Tonks mid Book 6 depression damnit! Hence the plain brown hair and grumpy disposition. Coincidentally, book 6 Tonks is very similar to Robin mid sinus headache.