For years, I’ve dreamed of throwing a cocktail party – the kind where women wear dresses and men (begrudgingly) don ties. I picture myself making things like cheddar gougères and chilled snapper crudo. I imagine serving martins and manhattans. There will be jazz music and a roaring fire. Glasses will clink. Laughter will reign. The night will slip into the wee hours without anyone noticing (or yawning).
My “cocktail party” will mark me as a grownup, an adult – a woman in the capital “W” sense.
Perhaps that’s why I have yet to throw such an event. When does one really become a grownup anyway?
At a small dinner party the other night, a group of us lamented over just such a question. Were we grownup because we had big-boy and big-girl jobs? Did we become grownups when we had bills to pay? Had it happened when we bought cars or houses? Did getting married make us grownups?
Or, as we all felt was the case, was the “grownup” part still yet to come?
I don’t have a good answer. If you do, please leave it in the comments below. For now, I’m perfectly happy to enjoy dinner parties, the kind where you might find Bacon and Baby Broccoli Grilled Cheese with an Apple and Parsnip Soup. These are the kind of evenings where you play Cards Against Humanity, dance in your socks, and drink Moscow Mules from copper mugs. They sometimes involve beer – from a can. And, often include serving at least one dish from Tupperware. They are lovely, lovely nights that make me forever grateful to not yet be a “grownup.”
Apple and Parsnip Soup
Adapted from Eating Well’s Autumn Chicken Stew
My good friends Alice and Cole have been making this soup all winter. To be frank, when Alice first told me about it, I had my reservations. Apple in soup? I should know better than to question this woman’s choice in food. This soup is amazing! The sweetness is tempered by a bright acidity that makes it perfect for a cold autumn (or winter) evening. And, it’s loaded with enough chicken and hearty root vegetables that it’ll stick with you.
5 tsp olive oil
1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, chopped
4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
6 cups chicken broth
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
4 – 5 tsp apple cider vinegar (or more to taste)
Heat 2 tsp oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until just cooked through (about 3 – 5 minutes). Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add remaining 3 tsp oil to pot. Add onion, parsnips, carrots, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables begin to soften (3 – 5 minutes). Add broth and apples. Bring to a simmer over high heat.
Reduce heat to maintain simmer and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are tender (8 – 10 minutes). Return chicken to the pot. Stir in vinegar. Serve warm.