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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Old English Sheep Dog Club Christmas Dinner

Big Ben
It was all about the dogs! 

Several times, through the past few years, I have heard about the great parties that have been hosted here at the farm and I wished that I could be there to help out with the cooking and enjoy the fun time working with family and friends. It finally happened this past weekend. The party we hosted on Saturday night was for the Greater Portland Old English Sheep Dog Club. There were close to 50 people in attendance. 

All who attended, braved the record setting rain storm that went on throughout the day, causing major traffic problems and flooding in the Portland metro area, including the Willamette Valley, where the farm is located. At one point during the day, we wondered how we were going to get the people through the flooded areas to the house. Only one vehicle had to be towed out of the mud at the end of the night. 

I enjoyed making the food during the three days of preparation. The menu I chose would have been impossible to accomplish without the three full-sized ovens and the two refrigerators here in the house. Even with them, it was a challenging menu and it took a lot of juggling and planning. The day of the party, I had extra hands, including one of my sisters, helping out with getting the food on the table, plus last minute things. We even had a dishwasher extraordinaire, that kept the counters cleared the whole evening, which helped very much! Over all, I was happy with the way everything turned out. There are a couple of things I would do differently if I had a do-over, but I will save that for another time. I have at least two recipes that I will share later in the week.

I hear that my camera was the only one in the house, being used anyway, so today I am sharing a few pictures I have of the evening. The food pictures were taken at random times, some before and some after the dinner started. We missed taking pictures of the soup course altogether as we were getting the food set in place during that time. We served split pea soup and corn chowder to everyone sitting at the tables. After the soup course, they took their plates with them to the buffet.

The buffet line with notes attached for placement, pre-dinner
Apple Stuffed Pork Loin with Spiced Cider Glaze
Chicken Cordon Bleu - before the skewers were taken out
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Streusel Topped Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans with Fresh Mushroom Sauce
Honey Glazed Carrots with Fresh Nutmeg
An oven full of Macaroni and Cheese

 And for dessert...

Ginger Cakes with Lemon Butter and Cream
We did our best to get every one fed as quickly as possible. As we were working in the background, it sounded like everyone was having a great time. They were a very appreciative group of people, which makes the time and effort given even more rewarding. In place of their traditional gift exchange, the members of the club brought many bags and containers of dog food to donate to local animal shelters this holiday season. 

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