One of my best friends is coming to visit me for the weekend today all the way from Champaign, Illinios. If you think it’s bad being a regular person when you have guests, it’s worse when you are a cook. Or I should say, it’s worse when you are nerotic and obsessive compulsive cook, like myself. There is no amount of chanting that would make me calm, cool and collected when I know I have people coming over that I have to cook for not only once, but many times over the space of a few days. I could take out a bank loan and treat for the weekend, or I could plan ahead, which I think is critical for us crazies. Otherwise, you find yourself stirring the sauce, unable to let go of the spoon. Someone tries to help while you’re straining the pasta, grabs the spoon, does a little stir, and before you can stop yourself you say “move away, from the pot”, like some kind of late night television police detective breaking up a bank robbery.
Pack in a lot of cammomile tea, don’t forget to breathe, and make simple menus.
Going out for donuts is also good.
I’m going to make a meat sauce, roast a chicken, make some garlicky string beans, a potato leek soup, boil some eggs (it’s like boiling water when the baby is coming), and make a sour cream coffee cake. The soup, the meat sauce, and the coffee cake can all be frozen, and all of it can be heated up and made into a meal in a minute.
Good quick pastas that you can make last minute are a carabonara with asparagus, or pan roasted eggplant with a tomato basil sauce and tomatoes. Roast any piece of meat with just a drizzle of olive oil and some garlic with salt and pepper at a low temperature (350 degrees), and almost any green vegetable, and even carrots are great simmered in salted water until they are tender, then strained welland drizzled with your best olive oil, salt and some raw whole garlic cloves.
For dessert, heat up heavy cream, and melt half as much of your favorite Belgian chocolate into it. Let it cool a tiny bit, and serve it in a demi tasse cup with whipped cream.
Pray for me.