I like cooking for people. I really do. Nobody would know that because I hardly ever do - but it's fun for me. Little Jenny Cleaver. I chose one of my fave dinners that Popo used to make. Flank steak. Then I went with a safety, baked potato. I make great baked potatoes. And you can never go wrong with peas and salad. Beauty, right?
Note to self: Do not try new recipes when tested microwave method works best.
I always make my terrific fluffed baked potatoes in the micro. I KNOW - bad, bad, double bad. So, John asked me if I could do them in the oven instead. Sure, no problem. Google baked potato and what do I find? Coat it with olive oil and salt? OK, sounds yummy. I've never had a bad anything with olive oil. Place in middle of the oven and bake for an hour. Done. So, why weren't the potatoes done? Ah well. A few minutes in the micro won't hurt.
Flank steak recipe on the wrapper. Did I miss the fine print? No. 15 minutes. So, why was it more rare than it was supposed to be? Yikes!
Anyway, you're getting the behind the scenes horrors. The dinner was actually quite lovely, except for John's who took the brunt of the mistakes. Conversation flowed freely and John's dad couldn't have been more gracious and happy. But the best compliment was when almost 18-yr-old David said, "This is the healthiest meal I've had in months." A bit disconcerting but still high praise for the cook.
The funnest part of the night was tough to call. Both events were equally exciting and squeal-worthy. First, we got these AMAZING Cole & Mason salt and pepper shakers from Dave and Cotie. You look at their slender stainless steel shape and think, ah, how lovely. But then you push the button for the salt or pepper to grind and LET THERE BE LIGHT! Kind of like a UFO has light beneath it's saucer, so do our shakers. So, if you're having a candle lit dinner, you can see where your salt is going! It's the coolest thing ever and no doubt NOT recommended by the heart association as I must've put salt four times on my food last night I was so enamored with this little beast. You have to have one, quick, get it right now. Good work Dave and Cotie!
So, no competion you say--clearly the coolest trick in the show. But wait, there's more! David and David brought us a big wrapped gift. We opened it after dinner...and...and...wait for it...A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! They couldn't have brought a better gift. How excited was I? The first time I had one was at a buffet this easter at the Grand Hotel in San Diego. An entirely fancy affair one gigantic chocolate fountain where little kids and big kids like me dipped strawberry after marshmallow after banana. I just might test this puppy out during the Rose Bowl. Trojans on HD, choccy fountain of yum, and UFO S&P shakers, and our hot dog machine -- what could possibly be more fun than that?
Anyway, it was great to have them over. And great to have me cooking again. With a little practice I'll feel good about the meals myself. Besides, it's not about what you cook, but how much love you add to it. Ten years ago just having the dad over would've stressed me out, but at this ripe old age of 35, I've found that it's the company and time together that's most important. We could've ordered Chinese and still enjoyed seeing each other.
So, who wants to come over next? I dare you!
NEXT: John in Australia Jan 1 - Jan 30, 2007