We have a tradition on our little town on the prairie -- a (usually) Friday night get together that we call a "Courtland".
It started years ago when our friend, Barbara, who owned the Courtland Hotel (which had a wonderful bar and we often stopped by there for a drink) decided that she was going to close the hotel, restaurant and bar.
Closing a bar means that you have partial bottles . . . and what better way to use them up than to have friends over. So the first Friday after she was closed, she called those who had been good customers at the bar and said, "I'm closed, I have liquor, bring an appetizer and we'll get together".
We all came, bringing appetizers for the communal appetizer table but we also brought our own bottles and so at the end of the night, she said "I still have booze left, let's do this again next week" and so we did.
That was the start . . . .
Sometime before the evening ended (an early evening for we usually went in small groups out to dinner after The Courtland) someone would say "next week at our house"!
And so it went . . . . Barbara moved away but The Courtlands continued. As people moved to our community they were included in the Courtland events. We met weekly for many years but then, we have a Courtland occasionally now. Notifications are by word of mouth or email.
But "the drill" as I call it is the same -- bring what you want to drink (and some bring diet cokes) and bring an appetizer for the communal appetizer table.
We still meet at 5:30 and usually by 7:30 there are few left. Not many go out to dinner after any more -- our appetizer offerings are more substantial than they were in the beginning.
It's an easy way to host a party -- provide ice, plates and napkins (and forks just in case someone decides to bring something forkable), a table for the appetizers and soft drinks if you want. One appetizer as well as what you want to drink.
The Courtlands still attract between 40 and 50 people usually. It's a fun evening.
June, here on the prairie, seemed to have more Courtlands than the previous months. My offerings?
|Not your Grandmother's Deviled Eggs -- but it is Grandmother's egg plate!|
Deviled eggs. Not my usual recipe but one by the Barefoot Contessa.
|Dollops of caviar make for special deviled eggs.|
Toped with red caviar and snippets of chives. They were gone almost as soon as I set the plate down. Deviled eggs always go well at Courtlands.
As do wings.
|Always on a blue and white plate, everyone knows which offering is mine!|
The working ladies often pick up KFC wings and shamelessly bring them in the bucket. And they are always some of the first food to go. I had a nice bag of wings in the freezer and so I chose to make coca cola wings. They're not southern but Asian. They're good and I didn't make them too spicy.
|A bit of spice from the pepper but not too hot and a nice glaze -- who would have thought Coca Cola could produce something "Asian"!|
A syrupy coke flavored sauce with a finish of green onion and black pepper. This plate, too, soon emptied.
It's a great tradition. Barbara passed away a few years ago and we had a special Courtland in her memory. She is the grande dame of the Courtlands and always will be. She lives on in this special social event that is unique to our little town.
BAREFOOT CONTESSA DEVILED EGGS
8 extra large eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 T. good mayonnaise
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. minced fresh chives, plus extra for garnish
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Place the eggs in a pot large enough to hold them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with cold waster and bring to a full boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let the eggs stand for 15 minutes. Drain the eggs and fill the pot with cold water. Set aside until the eggs are cool.
Peel the eggs and then slice them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks, carefully. Place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and arrange the whites on a platter in a single layer with the cut sides up and sprinkle with salt.
To the yolks, add the sour cream, cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives, salt and pepper. Beat on medium speed until fluffy. With a small spoon, fill the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap (you don't want to flatten the filling) and refrigerate for 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.
When ready to serve, garnish with a dollop of caviar and some extra chives. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.
COCA COLA WINGS
2 pounds chicken wings, wings and drummettes separated
1/4 c. soy sauce
2 T. oil
2 T. dry sherry
3/4 cup Coca Cola (not diet or anything flavored)
2 scalions, chopped
a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
Put the chicken wings in a large bowl and pour half of the soy sauce on top. Turn the wings so they are well coated and allow them to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes at room temperature.
Heat a deep skillet over medium high heat. Sear the chicken wings until they are golden brown on each side but not cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Pour in the other half of the soy sauce, sherry, Coke and bring the liquid to a simmer. Simmer the wings uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.
Season the chicken with black pepper. Transfer the chicken to a plate, garnish with scallions and serve.
It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday!
I really enjoyed your story and your recipes look delicious! What a fun community to live in. Barbara sure was a special gal.
This is such a fun and fitting tribute to Barbara. I am betting she is joining on Fridays.
I absolutely love deviled eggs. I will definitly try this recipe.
Hope you had a blast on the 4th. Ginger:)
What a fun tradition! More recipes I must try!
I L O V E D hearing about 'The Courtlands' and how it came about with its being...and that it is still continued in fond memory of your friend, Barbara! Deviled eggs are a favorite of my daughter~in~law and our entire family!!! I have that same cut glass deviled egg plate...Grandmother's egg plate! Too funny! Thanks for the recipe and the bit of history this morning!
A very fun tradition, and it still goes on! Slightly jealous. :-)
The foods sounds so good; thanks for sharing!
I think this is a splendid idea! I'm southern born and bred and cut my teeth on deviled eggs. The chicken wings look and sound delicious.
What a fun and wonderful tradition! And a great tribute to your friend Barbara also. The recipes look amazing and I am surprised at how simple the wings are to make. Thanks for sharing, I will definitely have to try them both!
What a great idea. Years ago, when we were ex-pats living outside Philadelphia, a group of us did something very much like this. For nearly four years we met every Friday evening, except at Christmas. Lovely memories of food and conversation.
What a wonderful tradition to carry forward. The Courtland sounds like a great way to touch base with folks
seen only occasionally. The wings and the deviled eggs both sound delicious.
Have a fabulous weekend. Blessings...Mary
What a delightful post and your food looks delicious. Hope you are having a great week end and thanks for sharing.
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