Sunday, September 19, 2010

Company for dinner? Honey are you shitting me?

So, we've all had that surprise moment when you find out you are having unexpected company for dinner. It's one of those WTF moments......Then oh shit, what the hell am I going to do. How do I make this dinner for four expand to feed 6?

Luckily for me, I like to cook and I generally don't mind company....unless I'm sick or hungover. Then stay the hell away.....

I'm the kind of person though, who likes to impress with my cooking and my hostessing. So, when I have unexpected company that I didn't plan a spectacular dinner for, I have to improvise...

Here are some of the things that I do to "fancy" up my meals when I wasn't even fucking prepared to do so in the first place.

Main course: Well, unfortunately, at the point where you find out you are having unexpected guests...you've probably already started your meal if it's not already even done..So, there isn't much you can do about this. ...This happened to me today. Luckily, I was making lasagna. And even more luckily, it was a pretty fancy lasagna with home made Bolognese sauce, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, ricotta and basil..yum.....So, I had enough lasagna to go around.

Dessert: I have to have dessert when I have company. A meal just doesn't feel complete without it. So what do you do when you don't have time to bake a cake or pie? Bread pudding with caramel sauce is what I always fall back on. Soooo freaking easy. Who doesn't have old bread in their pantry? Brown sugar? Check! Eggs? Check! Milk? Check! If I happen to have frozen or fresh blueberries, I toss those fuckers in as well....Then I make a caramel sauce...easy peazy. Sugar? Check! Water? Check! You can make a very nice bread pudding with caramel sauce to serve. I can post the recipe.

Little touches....

When I serve bread, rolls etc....it always make it fancier if I dress up my butter a little bit.
That is right. Dress up the butter. It's not enough that butter is spectacular on it's own, but I do dress it up a bit....Take a stick of butter and soften it....here are two of my favorites:

1. Add in about a tablespoon of honey and tablespoon or so of brown sugar.....mix it around and you have a to-die-for spread for your warm rolls...yummy.

2. Add in about a 1/2 tsp of lemon, 1 clove of minced garlic and some chopped fresh herbs..whatever you got..basil, oregano, parsley..whatever. Toss in a pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper....You got HERB BUTTER. Another yum.


Throw together a spectacular salad. I keep almonds and walnuts in my freezer. Chop up your lettuce. Toss in sliced red onions, strawberries or raspberries. Toss in some nuts and serve with a vinaigrette (I'm sure I spelled that wrong)....You can make your own vinaigrette or keep a store bought bottle in your fridge....

Make your own croutons! Easy as pie. Cut up some bread into 1 inch cubes. Toss in a large bowl. Drizzle in some olive oil and dried herbs. Spread on a baking sheet and bake in the oven till nice and toasty. Serve on your salad....

It's always the little touches that make it seem like you planned this shit all along.
Improvise! That is what I had to do today when I found out at the last minute that my in-laws were coming for dinner.

So, the lasagna is baking. The bread is ready and so is the honey butter....The salad is chopped and the croutons are done. The bread pudding is in the oven...Getting ready to make the caramel sauce now...

I happen to be a glutton for punishment, so I whipped up a batch of crepe batter, which is chilling in the fridge...I sliced up the rest of the raspberries and strawberries that were rotting in my fridge and they are currently marinating in a bit of sugar and amaretto...Perfect topping for the crepes......

I fucking rock.

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