If you come to my house for dinner it is generally a pretty laid back experience. I mostly make whatever I see at the store that looks fresh or interesting. That is how I make most meals actually. We like having people over, so it’s not a stressful time for me, but this guest was different. I felt some pressure.
For one I don’t know him very well and plus I had unintentionally insulted him and humiliated him by my cat like quickness. Not to mention those couple of times that I intentionally insulted him and maybe once said something about his mother. Anyway, I was trying to make a good 4th impression. I decided to start by becoming an Auburn fan. A tribute to his beloved Alma Mater…
Step two on my plan to get into his good graces was food. I spent the day cooking.
He is not a military guy, but he showed up on time which is nice and he brought a present.
My kids love when we have company. Even though we have a fair amount of folks over they still get excited every time. E, the question girl spent 6 hours grilling me…
E- Is it a boy or a girl?
E– How do you know him?
Me- He is a friend of daddy’s.
E- Is he daddy’s boyfriend or just a boy?
I don’t really know what she meant by that, but…
Me- E, just a friend.
E- Is he a boy or a man?
Me- A man.
For the rest of the night my children referred to him as “The Man.” He has a nickname and an actual name which they know, but still they always called him The Man. Even right in front of him they would say. “Is The Man coming to sit down?” “Is The man hungry?” Still working on their social skills, however his previous nickname on the blog has been Tiger. A name I have never really liked, so from this moment on he will be known as The Man.
Truth be told I wasn’t really concerned about feeding him and humiliate might be an overstatement(didn’t happen) as well as my alleged catlike quickness, but the insulted him part is true. Its really more like light hearted banter though. Also, for the record, I never said anything about his mother. No nerves, but still wasn’t sure what to feed him.
I was told that I could make anything that did not include water chestnuts. On the one hand that is nice. Open slate, On the other hand it leaves a lot of options out there. I wasn’t sure how adventurous he was, but I did know he liked food because the the other night at the restaurant we both whipped out our cell phones and instead of sharing pictures of family we showed each other different foods we had made. He had a picture of stuffed portabella mushrooms.
I searched my recipes and decided on Braciole. Unfortunately, my butcher didn’t have the right cut of flank steak, so I improvised. I also wanted to somehow include mushrooms into the meal because The Man likes them. Braciole does not have mushrooms in it, but it’s my kitchen, so again I improvised. The final dish was more like a stuffed flank steak. I made a mixture of chopped mushrooms, parm cheese, fresh herbs and olive oil. Put a slab of flank steak down, put the mushroom mixture on top and placed another piece of flank steak on top of that and refrigerated it for a couple of hours. I then made a basic tomato sauce. I browned both sides of the flank steak, poured the sauce on top and baked for 2 hours. The last few minutes I topped off with a good aged provolone and finally a toss of fresh parsley.
It was very tender and yummy. We also had a simple salad of romaine lettuce, baby red beans, garbanzo beans, diced jack and cheddar cheeses, fried tortilla strips and a home made balsamic Dijon vinaigretteA mix of cherry tomatoes and avocado with a home made ranch dressing. I like homemade ranch because it has a fresher lighter flavor. I do use whole milk buttermilk but the herbs I add are much better than the prepackaged stuff.
It was a very low key night of beer, food, and chit chat. The man shared that he liked California, but would not live there due to their gun laws. Kind of have to like a man that chooses his state of residence based on the gun laws.
Hopefully he enjoyed himself and the food. I did get a hug and he left smiling, so those are good signs
P.S. E just walked by and said, “Hey, that’s a picture of you and The Man”.