Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunday Dinner, Host Family

(the tulip Genevieve got from children's time at church)

The church I grew up in always had a designated "host family," someone who was supposed to invite the visitors for Sunday dinner. If there weren't enough visitors, you invited whomever from church.

Well, my church now has started up this tradition (have any of you heard of the host family tradition?) and yesterday my family was the host family. This was my second time doing it and it's hard! Not only am I planning a Sunday menu with its time constraints, but I'm planning for unknown peoples' tastes.

My menu:
Roast beef, roasted with carrots, potatoes, mushrooms and onions
Green salad with honey mustard or Caesar dressing
Creamy coleslaw
Hot fudge sundae cake with ice cream

got roast out to thaw in fridge

baked cake
shredded coleslaw mix
made coleslaw dressing
chopped cucumbers for salad
made honey mustard dressing
toasted sunflower seeds for salad
put board in table and tablecloth on

Sunday morning:
made green salad
assembled roast and vegetables and put on timed bake

Sunday noon:
combined coleslaw with dressing (then dumped in more mayo)
sliced roast
made gravy (guest stirred)
set table (my husband and guests)
popped cake in oven to get warm from residual heat

I was little worried about vegetarian visitors and sure enough, one of our guests was an at-home vegetarian, but she graciously eats meat when it is served to her. Whew. But I still felt bad.

Everything turned out fine, and more importantly, we had lovely time of fellowship around our Sunday dinner table. I didn't take photos while dinner was laid or then in full swing, so what you see is from Saturday prep and later Sunday afternoon.

Now, let's talk about the hot fudge sundae cake. I got the recipe from Beth after I posted about Wacky Cake, and it's AMAZING. Truly AMAZING. It's easy, cheap, sorta healthy, and incredibly good. I've been on a hunt for this kind of cake since first making it; I found more recipes and made two other cakes and I'll post about those this week too. But really, make this cake - you will wonder how you kept house without it!

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

In ungreased, 9x9 baking pan, mix:
1 c. all purpose or WW pastry flour
1/2 or 3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbs. baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Then, dump in and mix with fork until smooth:
1/2 c. milk
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir in 1 cup nuts, if desired.

Spread batter evenly.
Sprinkle evenly with:
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa

Pour over all:
1 3/4 c. very hot water

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until top is dry. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving. Spoon warm cake with its sauce into bowls. Top with ice cream or whipped cream or nothing at all. Try to act like you worked very hard in the kitchen to deserve the lavish compliments. Try not to make more than once a week.

My notes to the recipe: I've made the cake twice now. Once we ate unsweetened whipped cream on it and yesterday, peanut butter ice cream. Because it's cake with its own fudge sauce, it can stand alone too, so don't let your lack of ice cream stop you from making this cake. I've used nuts both times - pecans once, walnuts the other time. I reduce the sugar in the cake part to 1/2 c., but not the brown sugar on top. This cakes keep perfectly, covered, on the counter and you can warm it up to serve it, or you can just take a bite as you walk by doing your afternoon work. You know.

Thanks, Beth, for a wonderful recipe!


Jennifer Jo said...

I hosted Sunday guests yesterday, too (and yes, I've heard of the Sunday host tradition, but our church doesn't do it), and will be posting about it later today.

Hot fudge cake IS good. You're making me hungry!

Beth said...

Hooray for a yummy cake! I'm so glad it worked out! And that your gracious hosting was a success. Everything looks and sounds delicious, as usual.

I've not heard of the hosting tradition, but it seems silly that it's NOT a common thing in all churches! What a neat way to bless people.