Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Come dine with me.

In some families, when you are invited to join them for a meal...you know you are someone they consider family or friend. The same is true for my house.

Anyone who reads my blog, or knows me for that matter, knows that I do enjoy to cook. But Tyler Florence hit the nail on the head in his cookbook when he made the statement similar to...none of the cooking or meal matters if there isn't someone on the other end who appreciates it. (Those aren't his exact words...I put my own twist on it LOL)

This very much rings true for me. When I'm home alone I'll make myself some pasta from the box with a sauce from the jar or a sandwich. But when I'm making a dinner for Michael and myself or when I've invited people to join us...I tend to give it my all. Sharing a meal with someone is in essence sharing my love with them. This is why I don't like cooking for big groups unless it is a family gathering or true friends.

My kitchen is where I thrive, like an artist...it's my studio. Someone compared cooking to a dance of sorts, and its funny how it really is. Michael has watched me in the kitchen before as I have 4 things on the stove, something on the cutting board, and something else in the oven. He watches as I stir this, chop that, and spin back and forth in what looks like graceful, planned movements. What he doesn't know is that most of the time inside I'm frantic because I've set a "time" for dinner to be on the table. But I thrive off this!

Yesterday was our 2 year anniversary of registering as Domestic Partners, and because we are now allowed to be married in Washington State, it is the day the state recognizes the day we were married. So I planned to do what I know how to do, make a wonderful meal for us. But its not that simple...I started this the night before by asking Michael if he wanted grilled pizzas for dinner the next night. I just purchased a Tyler Florence cookbook and it has some yummy looking grilled pizza recipes in it! Michael thought they looked good, and seemed excited to have them for dinner. The plan was in motion!

Yesterday morning Michael gave me a card, and I continued the ruse by acting like I didn't know what the card was for. He told me Happy Anniversary before he left for work. :) Yesterday I cleaned the house, and then took the two leaves out of our large dining room table, to make it more intimate. I bought tulips for the table and set it for the two of us. Now it was time to get everything ready for dinner.

Tyler Florence had just the recipe in the cookbook I purchased! Seared Halibut over a Broccoli Puree was what I decided would be Michael's dinner.(I made a steak for myself...so just a protein change) After taking a salad up to Michael for lunch, I ran some errands then came home to start the prep. The broccoli puree was interesting, to say the least. It was simple to make, and because it was served chilled, it was a great contrast to the warm fish and steak! So good!

When Michael walked in the door last night the look on his face was priceless. I smiled and asked, "Did you really think I would serve grilled pizza for our anniversary?!?" He seemed just a bit disappointed because I built up the pizzas all day, lol. But he went upstairs and changed while I finished dinner and got it on the table.

The meal was delicious, and to top it off I made dessert! I made poached pears with a chocolate sauce over vanilla bean ice cream. This is huge for me, because I am not a dessert maker, and I think this is the first time (other than Thanksgiving and Christmas) that I've prepared dessert to go with our meal. I loved looking across the table to see the smile on Michael's face as he enjoyed the meal that I prepared for us, the meal that I put my heart and soul into.

When I invite someone into our home to share a meal with us, it means that I welcome you into our lives. Someone once said that I seem to go over the top for my meals. My response to that is, expressing your love through your passion is never going over the top. While I do understand that most people don't think taking several hours to braise short ribs, or breaking down a whole chicken to make your own stock is worth it...I do. I am not a good gift giver when it comes to holidays. For birthdays I extend invitations to friends to come over and I will make them any meal they want. To me, sharing a meal with someone you love is the best gift, especially when you make that meal yourself.

When you cook a meal, do you see it as a "chore?" Or is it an expression of love for you as well? When you enjoy a meal that someone has prepared for you, can you taste the love and passion they put into it? They say you can "hear" someone smiling when they talk on the phone...and I believe the same is true for a meal. If a meal is made with love, that is passed on through the meal and it doesn't matter if it's a grilled pizza or a five course dinner.

Come dine with me...four words that hold so much meaning when I say them to you. I realize that those words may not hold as much meaning for others, so it's easy to see why some don't always accept the invite or don't see the importance of keeping the plans. But to me, its more than just a meal.

So until next time...Keep Cookin'! But do it with love and passion.

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