I snuck out of work early today, so I could do some grocery-shopping before picking up kids. Not just regular grocery-shopping either, but to fulfill a gourmet menu I have planned for Laura and Ryan's upcoming visit tomorrow! I'm so happy, I can't wait to see them. I haven't seen Laura since her stroke and surgery, so I'm super anxious to see her.
It's a tough call who I love to cook with the most: Laura or Mom. It's a call I'm lucky enough to have, and one I'm even luckier enough not to truly have to make. (The ultimate moment would be with them together, and I think we did once many years ago, before I turned into a foodie -- or really, moreso a cook-ie!)
I don't know yet if Laura will be up to cooking together, but I certainly can't pass up this opportunity to make new great stuff, so I'm preparing some things ahead of time. I don't want anyone to have to lift a finger, or go any further than the wine cabinet for the whole weekend.
Naturally, I've planned a week's worth of ideas for just a few days' visit, but alas, I can't help it. As always, I have less time than I think, so I wasn't able to pre-make my blueberry pie bites (or a strawberry substitute I just found that I must try), or do prep work for some wonderful roasted fennel with gorgonzola appetizers, but at least I got the awesome boeuf bourgignon done. Gabriel was with me when I set a cup of cognac ablaze in the pot, and together we cheered while the flames roared. And Julian was delighted to hear about the yogurt mediterranean salad, with cucumber and tomatoes: "that's for me!" he declared.
It's funny that I haven't posted to my food blog in almost a year, yet I've cooked and baked more in the last year than I have in my whole life. Slightly related, I'm also finding more and more fault with my new kitchen, mostly in that the fridge is too far from the sink. This wasn't an oversight; I had a careful plan for the prep area relative to the fridge. Trouble is, it's almost impossible to know what part of the kitchen you'll be drawn to until you're actually in it. Indeed, up until the very moment you reach for that first stick of butter, the plan seems perfect -- but then, as soon as you look for the knife to cut the butter, the plate to put the butter stick on, the bowl into which the slice of butter will go, and the sink that all that stuff will land in in the end, the fallacy in the plan roars in. Overall my kitchen works well, but it really is too spread out.
Not that my double-wide kitchen should stop me food-blogging, but it's interesting that I food-blogged a lot more when I had far far worse kitchens.
Now, spinach carbonara or shrimp bisque tomorrow? Another great dilemma to have. But first, I must make sure to have the goat-cheese salmon dill appetizer ready for their arrival.