Recently I've had friends confess that they read my blog as a procrastination technique, a break from the daily grind. Nothing could make me happier, as reading other people's food blogs comprises a large portion of my work days, too. But I've found a much more effective way to avoid the chore of trying to sell stories to people that don't want them: cooking.
We're having some guests for dinner tonight, new friends. It's only a Tuesday but I've settled on an elaborate menu that requires lots of advance preparation. I'm trying, in a small way, to impress them, since they know that I cook a lot and write about food and I'm sure they are expecting something more than spaghetti and meatballs. Making a meal like this goes against everything that I ever advise people who are nervous about cooking for guests. "Make something simple," I always crow, "and make it really good." I'm the queen of the roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, the grande dame of soup as dinner with bread, cheese, and salami, and maybe a salad to round things out. Generally, when I go to other peoples houses for dinner, I'm relieved to hear that we are having a simple meal and nervous when they announce they have purchased something they have never cooked before. The words you don't want to hear as a dinner guest: "What do you usually do with squab?" Uh-oh.
Today I'm at a frustrating place with my working life, so I made up this menu as a way to excuse myself from the computer legitimately. I couldn't write! I was cooking! To further justify my slackerdom, I tried to pick some new things to make (along with some old things) so that I'd at least be learning something along the way. So, for tonight, it's garlic toasts with braised greens (kale, broccoli rabe and spinach), a little gorgonzola and a poached egg, tiny roasted squash tortellini with sage and brown butter, pork loin with garden herbs, roasted potatoes and a little cherry tomato salad, and something chocolate (TBD) for dessert.
Now, back to the kitchen.