I'm not sure 3 people having dinner is really a 'dinner party' but tonight was the first night I cooked for someone else other than Ty and our family members so that's what I called it. I invited my friend Heather over for dinner and wine and some catching up (Ty made 3 for those who are counting). My plan was to grill pork with a few different sauces that Ty got for Christmas and make roasted potatoes as a side. I Googled 'how to roast potatoes' and found this site that sounded pretty easy. I've attempted roasted potatoes before with mixed results - the first time it seemed like it took 3 hours for them to actually be done and the second time they were really dry. This recipe said to cover them and cook them for 40 minutes at 325. That sounded like a reasonable way to help them cook faster and stay moist which is mainly why I choose this recipe.
My first problem was that I didn't have the exact seasoning mix it called for. This problem led to my first mistake, or misunderstanding if you will: although paprika is a red powdery substance, I don't think cayenne pepper is an equal substitute (even though it to, is a red powdery substance). But as I was digging through my spices this seemed totally logical. I did have garlic salt which it called for and I also decided to use this garlic & herb seasoning mix (can't ever have too much dehydrated garlic).
This may or may not have been mistake number 2 but I set my oven on 350 instead of 325 thinking that would get me eating a little bit quicker. Either way, the potatoes looked good after cooking for 40 minutes covered in foil so I let them cook another 10 minutes uncovered and they looked pretty decent, a little crispy on the edges, very edible. This was the point where I realized cayenne pepper is kind of spicy and was very glad I used it lightly.
This is also the point where I discovered problem #2 - no propane in the grill (or some cold weather grill issue, I don't know it just wouldn't stay lit). So I had to go to a backup pork cooking method and in a pinch decided I'd just cook it on the stove and we'd do like a sauce tasting and put the 5 different sauces in little dishes for us to dip the pork in (I thought this was totally cute and original). This was actually really fun, lots of discussion about the intensity of flavors in each sauce (also a good way to test out Mango Ginger Habanero sauce without dousing your food in it - it's very good by the way, just watch out for the Habanero bits).
As for the potatoes, Heather said she liked them but this was also the first time I've cooked for her so she may have just been being nice. I mean they weren't bad (and actually the cayenne pepper complimented the 3 sauces that had different varieties of pepper in them) but I sill thought they came out a little dry. Anyone have a suggestions? Use more olive oil? Dipping them in sauce was very good (and I think I saw Ty cover his in ketchup - also effective). I have more potatoes so I'll probably attempt this one again to see if I can perfect it.