Open House 2010

December 20th, 2010, 10:33 pm PDT by Greg

Following our long-standing tradition (of three years now), we just had our annual holiday open house. It’s a great excuse to see a bunch of people, many of whom we’d be too busy to see over the holidays otherwise. We had 48 people (by Kat’s count) this year, which is a solid turnout. I have posted what pictures I have (which are mostly of food).

We have stuck pretty closely to the formula that seems to work: tell people to come whenever and make sure there’s a lot of food. You’ll notice a lot of similarities between this list and our list of food from 2008.

The Food

Here is the food we had, with recipe/supplier links where I have them to post. Several of the links are to Cooks Illustrated, which requires a subscription. I vote that you pony-up and buy the subscription: I’ve rarely made anything from them that wasn’t awesome.

Commentary: The meatballs were a huge hit, so I have posted the recipe in a separate blog entry. I have rarely, if ever, made a better pie than those blueberry pies: I think I’m finally getting the touch for it.

People drank a lot more pop and a lot less beer/wine this year. I have heard the same from another person who had a holiday party. Maybe it’s the new drunk driving laws? Worth keeping in mind if you’re entertaining in BC this season.

The Time Lapse

As before, I set up a camera on a tripod to take a picture every 30 seconds. These (2000) pictures can then be stitched together into a time lapse video, which tells the story of our day pretty completely, at 1:270 speed. (direct link to the movie if you’re having plugin problems)

The Next Day

On Sunday, it was Kat’s grandmother’s birthday. It has become tradition that the grandchildren cook for that event.

So, after cooking Friday for most of the day and all you see in the time lapse, we got up the next morning to drive to Surrey and make indoor pulled pork (with Lexington-style vinegar sauce, and chopped not pulled as they do in the Carolinas). And we fed another 24 people with that.

Needless to say, we were both pretty bagged by the end of our weekend.

The Meatball Recipe

December 20th, 2010, 9:22 pm PDT by Greg

We had our annual holiday open house last Saturday. That seems to deserve a blog post of its own, but for now, I want to get this out of the way…

The most requested recipe by-far was for the meatballs that I made. They were described as great comfort food, rustic, and “Filipino”. (Apparently, sweet + sour + meat = Filipino.)

The whole thing can be made ahead and frozen. For the open house, I froze the meatballs ahead (since they’re the time-consuming part) and made up the sauce the day before: that seemed to work pretty well.

This recipe is very much from my childhood. My mother made it quite often—I know it only has her recipe, although it may have come from a magazine or something. It’s great with mashed potatoes. It travels well (to a potluck or whatever) in a slow cooker or casserole dish.

Meatballs

Really, any meatball recipe will do. This is the one I used, but if you want to go with a fancy beef/pork combo, that’s fine by me.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ingredients together. Roll into inch balls: I like one inch for appetizers, but bigger if I’m serving it as a meal.
  3. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly browned and cooked through: 15–25 minutes, depending on the size of the balls. Or you could cook them in a sauté pan if you’re impatient.

Sauce

  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped into strips/chunks
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (or 1 cup if you want it a little sweeter)
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar (or wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Sauté the onion in butter until softened.
  2. Combine the other ingredients. Add the onions when they are cooked.
  3. Combine the sauce and meatballs in a casserole dish. Bake at 350°F for about an hour, stirring halfway through. They’re done when the sauce is bubbling nicely.

For the open house, I did the last step in a slow cooker: just combined the sauce and meatballs in the slow cooker about 4 hours ahead and let it do its thing.