Perhaps, I was already insane before I even started cooking. Who plans 3 appetizers (although a friend did make the most fabulous crab rangoon as one of the offerings), 2 soups, 3 main dishes, egg rolls, steamed and fried rice, sesame green beans, fortune cookies, and cake to all be created in one day and served that same night from a lowly, little, home kitchen? Who tries to feed 20+ people on real plates with real flatware in a house without enough table space and no dishwasher? I must be crazy in love with Hubby to even consider it. Thankfully, I have good friends who are always there to lend a helping hand just when I need it most.
After an incredibly hectic week, yesterday morning started with a mad dash to the next town for chicken breasts, as the economy sized Sam's Club bag of boneless skinless boobs that I thought was in my freezer couldn't be located when I tried to pull them out to defrost late Friday night. After that, I settled into the motion of food prep by first tackling meats in need of marinating, then the more labor intensive egg rolls, and finally all of the other things that needed last minute prep. The problem is that ALL Chinese food needs last minute prep. Pulling together multiple dishes requires some choreography and I will be the first to admit that I have no real sense of rhythm. After a full day of hustling in the kitchen, I am more than a little out of step. That is when my friends come in and take over the lead. That is the thing they do for loving me.
After only a few meltdowns on my part, it was a great party with everyone finding something to enjoy on the buffet. Fun and laughter were the theme of the evening. Hubby's 41st year was ushered in with incredible love, camaraderie, and a few shocking experiences. I would say more, but as those in attendance know...what happens here, stays here. :~) You can be sure that while I might not attempt Chinese for 20+ people again, I certainly won't hesitate to host another party. I do love these people.
And...in that vein, I am going to go against what would be expected for my blog report of the party. I am not going to post the Asian inspired recipes served at the party. (Although, if you are interested, just ask. Everything was very good and worth sharing, if I may say so myself.) One of my friends (who WOULD look great in big girl shoes) asked if the birthday cake recipe was going to be posted on this blog. Out of love, I am going to oblige. I haven't had a chance to get a really decent photo of Chocolate Eclair Cake, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't share a super simple, but oh so yummy recipe with people that I love.
Another good friend and former co-worker provided this recipe back in the early years of my marriage. Hubby immediately claimed it for his birthday cake, and I have made it most of the 18 years we have been together. I think that it is a perfect cool finish for a heavy or spicy meal, and it can even be lightened up with sugar-free pudding and light whipped topping. People inhale it, and Hubby can eat an entire pan by himself. There are things that are unmentionable that people will do for the love of this cake. :~)
Chocolate Eclair Cake
1 (1 pound) box honey graham crackers
2 small packages vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip, thawed
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons white corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Combine pudding mix with milk.
Fold in Cool Whip.
Pour half of the mixture over crackers.
Add second layer of crackers.
Add remaining pudding mixture.
Add final layer of graham crackers.
Over medium heat, melt chocolate glaze except for the powdered sugar.
Remove from heat.
Beat in 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar.
Pour over crackers.
Refrigerate overnight. (Serves 12)