Fare Fit for a Chef



Just thinking about fixing food for a chef is more than a little intimidating. 

Even though the chef is my friend Liz and she wouldn't mind what I served her, I'm an amateur. I really don't do much cooking and Liz is a culinary school grad. 

She has worked in the restaurants of Walt Disney World and filmed episodes of TV shows with cooking personality Katie Brown. 

She is a hostess extraordinaire. 

She attends to the smallest details to create a delectable dining experience for her friends. 

At her gatherings, she toasts her own pita chips, sprinkled with sea salt. She sets out little pots of homemade olive tapenade and sun-dried tomato hummus. She has a never-ending repertoire of sparkling beverages that complement her creative menus. 

Although I'm a kitchen warrior when it comes to baking, I have just one pasta recipe in my cooking arsenal that could pass as a main dish.


When Liz was in town for a visit recently, I offered to organize a get-together that included a third friend of ours. 

I gave them the option of lunch at my house or meeting at a restaurant (which I was secretly pulling for), but they both said they'd love to come to my place. 

Resisting the urge to call for take-out, I flipped through my recipe file for inspiration. 

I decided to serve a quiche filled with spinach, scallions and smoked Gouda, skewers with tortellini and fresh mozzarella, and slices of carrot bread. 


But I soon felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew when I went shopping for ingredients the day before my lunch and the grocery store was out of scallions for the quiche. 

The produce manager suggested I substitute leeks. I wasn’t sure I even knew what leeks looked like as he pointed me in the direction of enormous-looking green onions. 

I wasn’t feeling very confident about them as I sliced, but the quiche came out of the oven with the circles of leeks nicely browned and crusty on the top. 

I filled glasses with sparkling water and a splash of cranberry-pomegranate juice, garnished with fresh slices of lime. 

I was ready for my guests.


Liz arrived harried and distressed about losing her credit card while trying to pick up a hostess gift for me on the way to my house. 

As I poured her a drink while she made a few phone calls, I suddenly realized that the afternoon wasn't about me at all or the food I planned to serve. 

It was about providing a warm welcome and a place of relaxation for my very good friends, who have often done the same for me. 

When I leave one of Liz's gatherings, I enjoy the delectable edibles, but it's her generous hospitality that I remember long afterwards. 


The afternoon spent at my house was full of girlfriend catch-up chitchat. 

Liz complimented the quiche and told me she likes leeks even better than scallions. I didn't have to serve a culinary delight worthy of a chef. 

My friends weren't expecting five-star cuisine. My expectations were self-imposed. 

I would have regretted letting my lack of culinary skills stop me from hosting my friends. The food and drinks don’t play the starring roles. 

Real-life face-to-face conversations and enjoying the company of friends are what’s worth savoring. 

And I’m discovering that food and friendship shared around the table can be a delicious feast for my soul. 

Regardless of who's cooking in the kitchen.

Comments

  1. The table looks beautiful and the dishes look yummy! Don't believe you can't cook!

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    1. Thank you! I really can't cook . . .. :)

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  2. The table looks welcoming, the food delicious, and the flowers are beautiful!

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

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  3. Valerie, I love this! The food looks delicious! I completely understand what you mean when you say it's all being about providing a warm welcome and a place for relaxation. That's exactly what I want to offer in my home!

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    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate your kind comments and thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I am in love with the "What's Cookin'" sign and your table. It is all so inviting!

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    1. Laura,
      I know -- isn't she adorable? I love her too! Thanks so much for reading and stopping by!

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  5. The picture of your dining table with the delicious food looks like it should be in Paris. It looks fabulous, and very well decorated!

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    1. Bree,
      Thank you! Ahhhh -- to look like Paris -- my sweetest desire! :)

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  6. Mmmmmm This post made me hungry! Your house is always filled with hospitality and beautiful things. I hope to follow in your footsteps!
    Christy

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    1. Christy,
      Thanks for the such kind words! You always have the coffee brewing whenever I stop over and I love that! :)

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  7. Great article, as always - Your warm heartedness and flair for a beautiful table far outpasses anything you'd have found in a restaurant - even in France! Your food looks delicious and what beautiful surroundings! Sounds like a fun time!! All to often, I'm consumed with a perfect house, perfect meal - instead of the 'perfect time' we'll have! Love the article!

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    1. Thank you Sharon! Love the idea of focusing on the perfect time not the perfect table!

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