In college my mother sent me a book - The Absolute Beginner's Cookbook. It tells you things like how to fry an egg and what it means to "sautee" something. She figured I would need it, as I the only things I knew how to make when I was growing up exclusively included chocolate. I hadn't really even opened it until this past Thursday evening when I was stressed out and clueless trying to figure out what to cook for a little dinner party we had offered to host for a few of our friends the following evening.
Two of our friends - Jon and Lauren - have had us over multiple times for delicious dinners. These two LOVE to cook. I can just picture them each night using oils and spices and trying out new recipes. Meanwhile, Geoff and I throw yet ANOTHER frozen pizza in the oven. Oh so sad.
So anyway, the pressure was on. No pressure from Jon and Lauren - just from my own ridiculousness I was making up in my head that the food must embody EXCELLENCE and PERFECTION. I decided on:
Appetizer - spinach artichoke dip with pita chips
Dinner - a recreation of "Pasta Milano" (my favorite chicken pasta dish from Macaroni Grill)
Dessert - chocolate covered strawberries
The night before our dinner Geoff and I set off to Harris Teeter and found ourselves wandering around the produce section asking each other, "now, what exactly do sun-dried tomatoes look like and where might we find them?" and "so, is this what spinach looks like?". It was sad. BUT - we managed.
On Friday afternoon I decided to start with the strawberries. My recipe called for me to use a double-boiler to heat the chocolate. Um......what? So I did what any oblivious person would do - GOOGLE IT. I found that I could make my own double-boiler and I was QUITE proud as I began melting my chocolate.......
....until this happened. Don't ask me how - I don't know.
Lucky for me, I had bought twice the amount of chocolate needed and was able to try again. And what happened? I was victorious!
Soon following, our dinner guests arrived. I got through the spinach artichoke dip on my own - and I it was a success - but quickly found that I needed help with the rest of it. Jon showed me how to make chicken (and caught me before I burned it) and Lauren saved me from this:
All in all, I felt good about our feast. This weekend was the first we've had that we weren't shooting a wedding or were out of town in months. It was SO NICE to relax.
Lara had made a delicious red velvet cake, but had troubles deciding how to actually get it to our house. When all else fails, use a pot. We were cracking up.
The rest of the night was spent playing games - Apples to Apples and Clue. I'm not the biggest fan of Clue - my attention span reflected it.
Thanks for coming over guys - we had fun!