I am so grateful to my better half, who peeled and chopped apples, zested and juiced lemons, and stirred risotto. I could not have done it without him! He even ate some of the Tarte Tatin (as he said, he was invested in it!)
While preparing the tarte tatin pastry (which i stuffed in the freezer to *enhance* the chilling effect and then had to microwave to roll out!), I whipped up a blueberry buttermilk bundt cake (courtesy of http://www.epicurious.com/) for Jaime's barbecue, which smelled exquisite.
In the rush, I did not take a step in preparing the tarte tatin that I should have - my Dad specifically warned about drying the apples before using. As a consequence, the oven and much of the kitchen was covered with apple juice, and I was sucking out tremendous amounts of extra fluid with a turkey baster. I had serious, serious, doubts as to the success of the Tarte Tatin. Intrepidly, Jim and I forged on and drove to Somerville at the appointed time with the still steaming risotto and the just-out-of-the-oven-and-not-yet-inverted Tarte Tatin in the big old cast iron frying pan.
The chefs and chefesses calmed themselves with glasses of wine and a delicious swiss chard appetizer provided by the hosts, Don and Audrey.
Once so fortified, I girded my loins and went to attempt to invert the tarte. To my utter surprise and delight, it emerged intact and even somewhat attractive! (Later we would find it was tasty as well.)
Audrey and Don provided a lovely salade (as my dad would say), fresh green beans, and a beautiful (and succulent) pork sirloin "en croute" that the risotto accompanied.
A toast was made to Julia - long may she wave! And a good meal was had by all.