I’ve never thought of myself as the type of person who enjoys cooking. I don’t tend to spend a lot of time in the grocery store – I’m the European-styled shopper, the one who stops by a couple of times a week to pick up a small bag of items. I don’t prepare elaborate meals on a regular basis. I like takeout.

But I realized last night that it’s not that I don’t like cooking, it’s simply that I don’t tend to have opportunity to really get in touch with my culinary side. I don’t often have groups of people to cook for.

Michelle had invited over her family (including a couple of people from out of town) to show them the new apartment, and the idea for a dinner party developed. The next thing I know, the evening has arrived, the recipe has been selected, and I’m in the kitchen, busily preparing and telling her that, if she’s cool with it, I’m completely down with the idea of her entertaining while I worked my dubious magic in the kitchen.

Fortunately, she did agree to this idea. I sort of took over in terms of the meal preparation plans without realizing precisely what I was doing.

And while I had everyone asking me if they could help, people urging me to take some time to actually eat myself, I honestly replied that I was having a blast. Sipping a glass of red wine, snacking on ingredients as I went along…it was awesome.

The meal: salad, lemon garlic chicken, bowtie pasta, Italian bread and mushrooms and asparagus sauteed with garlic. The chicken breasts were sauteed for about four minutes and transferred to a plate while I added the mushrooms and garlic to the mix. The chicken went back into the skillet, where they simmered for about five or six minutes in the white wine/lemon juice I’d added. Slices of lemon were also put on top of each piece to give them extra flavor while they finished cooking. While I had to create a pattern of preparation (I had a total of eight breasts to cook and only had room in the skillet for two at a time), it’s a relatively easy dish to prepare but looks great from a presentation standpoint. The lemon added a great kick to the chicken and the citrus and garlic made the kitchen smell absolutely sensational.

It made me realize that I look forward to hosting more dinner parties in the space that’s becoming more and more like a home – and that the idea of people tasting my cooking no longer fills me with the sense of dread that it used to. I’m going to enjoy putting more smiles on faces in the future.

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