Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I'm reading the book, Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen, by Laurie Colwin. It's a series of short essays that offers recipes and humorous stories. Yesterday on my subway ride home, I read the chapters on her worst cooking experiences and the worst meals she's eaten at other people's homes. I was just innocently reading the next chapters in the book, but this might have affected me.
When I got home, I made dinner for my husband, a potential business partner, and myself. The plan was to serve a simple dinner of ravioli with a quick fresh tomato sauce and a side of sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic. My husband planned to pick up the ravioli on his way home from the Piemonte Ravioli Co. It turns out that they close at 5:00 and not 6:00, so we had to settle for dried pasta.
We saved 6 pakoras from the night before, and I quickly reheated them in a hot saute pan and served them with the mint and cherry chutneys. This bought me some time while I prepared the rest of the dinner. I quickly washed and chopped up the 2 bunches of broccoli rabe and dropped it into our large skillet. As it began cooking, it shrank, and shrank, and shrank down to almost nothing. I knew that it was not enough for three people, so I added in the greens from a bunch of turnips. This too shrank down to very little, so I decided to make an additional side of carrots. Of course we only had a few small carrots, but I sauteed them and tossed them with lemon juice and cilantro. Meanwhile, I put the pasta in boiling water, and started my sauce. Two tomatoes chopped up and several cloves of garlic sliced went into a sauce pan with a generous amount of olive oil. I soon realized that this was not enough for the pound of pasta I had cooking.
All this time I was trying to be really quiet and not disturb them, but I was unsuccessful. It reminded me of the early morning when you are trying to tip-toe around and not wake the other people in the house, but you invariably drop things, trip over chairs, etc. That was me in the kitchen last night. I was dropping pots, spoons, getting myself all wet, and I was very self-conscious because they were having a technical discussion only 4 feet away (because our apartment is really small). My husband reassures me that he didn't even notice, so maybe I was being overly self-conscious.
In the end, the dinner was fine. We had pasta with a light tomato, garlic and basil sauce with carrots and greens, but it was very stressful getting there. I realized that I'm not used to cooking for 3 (cooking for more somehow isn't a problem) and for someone I have never met.