Tonight I had Laura, my cousin and his very wonderful boyfriend over for dinner. It has been a long time since I've cooked for anyone. I forgot how it is one of my very, very favorite things to do.
And not to be a "self-tooter" (that is, according to ZAD, a person who toots his/her own horn), but I was super pleased with dinner. It consisted of: risotto with a bunch of different cheeses and cherry tomatoes and basil; grilled swordfish (for the vegetarian ladies) and grilled pork steaks (for the meat-eating carnivorous menfolk) over a bed of field greens and green beans dressed with a lemon/olive oil dressing. For dessert, polenta cake (oh how I love the gritty & sweet polenta cake!) with mixed berries and whipped cream. The guys said that the pork was well cooked. I hope that was true--I couldn't verify it. But the risotto was really, really good.
Here's the thing--I used Jamie Oliver's basic recipe which calls for celery (I don't know why this makes it taste better, but it does. And it adds a little extra texture) and vermouth. You must use the vermouth. It is better for risotto than plain white wine. Trust me. Or don't. Trust Jamie Oliver. He's rarely wrong about these things.
Dinner seemed like a success, and it helped to get rid of stuff in my cabinets that has to disappear shortly--a box of arborio rice, half a bottle of Bombay Sapphire, a bottle of wine, flour and corn meal, the end of a bottle of Mexican vanilla.
AND, since I made ZAD promise not to bring a bottle of wine, Sean made me a new mix as a hostess gift. He almost called it Kristin-nacht, which is in horribly bad taste, but is kind of funny nevertheless. Instead it is just labeled "Kristin's Dinner Party Mix." And I'm going to listen to it tomorrow as I'm packing. YAY!
Perhaps some of you have heard me tell the story that my mother always tells--when my parents started going out after I was born, my mom would come home at night, no matter how late, and tell me about their night--where they ate, what they ate, what kind of wine they had. This is when I was a baby. I remember being very little--maybe five or six--and her waking me up smelling like perfume and lipstick and wine. I think that this is one of the most endearing things about my mother--that even though I couldn't understand what she was talking about, she had missed me enough over just the course of the evening that she wanted to make that contact with me, and to share what she had been doing while we had been separated.
So, dear readers, imagine that I have come to check on you and tuck you in. And I smell of Aveda lotion and Bonnie Bell lemonade lip balm and white wine and I'm whispering in the dark: risotto, chardonnay, swordfish, raspberries, Naked Chef, mixed CD . . .
Now go back to sleep. Tomorrow it will seem like a dream--