A really delicious dinner–especially one prepared by someone else–goes a long way toward soothing the pain of a crushing defeat.
Sunday night was the biweekly Amazing Race dinner party. And at first, things were really going my way. My pick for overall winning team, Justin & Zev were on a roll. They were the first team to complete this leg of the race…I could already see the cash pot in my hands at the end of the season…but wait! Zev had lost his passport. They couldn’t find it before the last team checked in, and Justin & Zev were eliminated from the race. My hopes of rolling around in a pile of money pretty much went with them.
It’s a good thing that there was plenty of comfort food for consolation.
Lindsey, Janna, and Stephanie showed up with food, pots, and pans, and took over the kitchen in a whirlwind of activity. The three of them moved like a well-choreographed dance team as they finished the dinner they had started at home, maneuvering around each other flawlessly with knives, hot pans, and boiling water as the rest of us drank a bottle of Blue Fin California Pinot from the sidelines.
The centerpiece of this satisfying dinner was the fragrant, steaming Pasta e Fagioli. Pasta, beans, and beef in a tomato-based sauce, this savory dish was deceptively simple, perfectly warm and filling. Add a square of freshly baked corn bread and dinner was very nearly complete.
Chock full of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, the green salad was the perfect foil for the steamy Fagioli.
And if this richness weren’t enough, Rob contributed Crème Brulee for dessert. So creamy, the sugar topping so perfectly crackly, that I ate mine and had already started on another by the time Rob announced that there were extras if anyone wanted seconds. Rob had also created a tiny Crème Brulee in an Asian soup spoon for Kwame, because, as he explained, Kwame always asks for only a spoonful of dessert. This had involved some ingenuity, as Rob had to devise a way to prop the porcelain spoon to the right height in the bain-marie while the desserts cooked.
All in all, it’s a lot easier to be philosophical about the vagaries of fate (in the form of one lost passport) when lying on the rug with a full belly, still polishing off the last bits of burnt sugar from the corners of a ramekin of Creme Brulee.