My family and I live on the North side of Richmond. Rosedale, to be exact. Our block is a modest neighborhood with wonderful neighbors who help take care of one another, and it seems that one household after another is having a baby (maybe it’s the water?).
We have a lot of young children in our neighborhood. Kids naturally want to play with other kids, and that forces us sometimes anti-social adults to interact with one another. With the neighborhood tots at the center of it all, we have formed a tight-knit community to be proud of. We look after each other’s children, celebrate their birthdays, check in on each other’s pets, and borrow a cup of sugar from each other from time to time.
I think that is something to celebrate.
A couple of weekends ago we held our 2nd-annual progressive party. If you are not familiar with a traditional progressive party, you move from one house to the next, progressing through each course of a meal — appetizers, main course, dessert — you get the picture.
Instead of progressing through each course of a meal, we asked our hosts to pair an appetizer with a drink, and then we moved from one house to the next. The destination? A backyard campfire with desserts , and drinks.
Neighbors who were not interested in hosting, brought something to share at the end, potluck style. Some of us co-hosted, and we spent about 30-45 minutes at each house. The more houses involved, the less time you generally spend at each house, but you make it what you want, and flexibility is key. In the end, it all works out.
I thought you might enjoy a recipe one of our neighbors came up with, along with links to some of the many other delicious food and drinks we enjoyed together, if not for a future progressive party, maybe for your New Year’s Eve celebrations.
- Meat: duck, chicken or pork all work well — you get to decide.
- Spicy Red Mole Sauce (makes approx 3 quarts): 4 tomatoes, 1 jalapeño pepper, 1 yellow onion, chopped, 1 red bell pepper, 1/2 Habanero pepper (leave Habanero out for a milder sauce). 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, 2 tbsp. white sesame seeds, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 quart chicken or veggie stock, 1 tbsp ground cumin, 1 star anise pod, 1tbsp chile powder, 2 bay leaves, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 bunch cilantro, sour cream, 1 wheel Mexican chocolate.
- Round tostadas (small round tortilla chips work perfectly)
- Sour Cream (light works well)
- Cilantro, pulled from the stem
- Roast meat and the pull into bite sized pieces after it is cooked.
- To make the Spicy Red Mole Sauce: Chop peppers, onion, tomatoes. Roast in oven at 375 until they begin to brown, about 1/2 hour. Mix all other ingredients together with stock, let simmer. Add roasted veggies. Simmer until chocolate is dissolved. Purée mixture. Add 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped. Add cooked pulled meat into sauce.
- Lay out round tostadas, place small amount of sauce covered meat on each.
- Top with a small dollop of sour cream and 1 cilantro leaf.
Here are links to some of the other tasty treats we enjoyed:
- White Sangria and/or Red Sangria
- Vegan Cupcakes
- Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed with Goat Cheese
- Spiked Hot Apple Cider
- Sausage, Cranberries, and Mushroom Puff Pastry
- Martha Stewart’s Eggnog
- Mexican Brownies
Want to arrange your own progressive party, or celebrate the New Year? Do it. It’s easy and oh so worth it to celebrate the good people in your life.
Oh, and The Farm Table wants you to be safe, so if you have to travel, please designate a driver and come up with a special non-alcoholic beverage for your teetotaling guest.