My theory on cooking is that if you are going to spend time doing it, it better be good aka phenomenal. I don't particularly like to cook, I prefer to bake, but since I hosted Christmas this past year (2009) I had my first dinner party of 11 at my new house, and it included all of the above. Appetizers, entrees and desserts. My mother-in-law said it was her favorite Christmas Day ever, and I said it was my WORST. I sat for maybe 5 minutes plus dinnertime. The rest of the evening I was in the kitchen while everyone else was in the living room drinking my favorite Pommery champagne. When the 2 bottles were kicked (nobody else thought to bring champagne) I was an unhappy camper. (I had had a total of one glass). Show's you how much people remember the cook.
At one point during the evening, I looked in the fridge and remembered I needed a salad. OH CRAP. Just then my sister-n-law walked in and saved my Christmas (and my sanity, I just couldn't make one more thing).
"Uhm, M, would you do something for me?"
"Yeah, sure, what do you need?"
"Do you mind whipping up a green salad?"
Twenty minutes later, VOILA, she had done the dirty work and a beautiful salad was made.
Thank God for sister-n-laws. And Ina Garten.
My menu was based solely on her cookbooks. I like recipes with a few fresh ingredients and that's how Ina rolls.
I decided to make a Pavlova for dessert after I found a scrumptious picture of it in her cookbook, barefoot contessa at home. She had me at the first sentence, "I'm always looking for easy fruit desserts". Done.
This dessert was heaven to eat. I had two servings during dessert time. Then everyone left and it became my favorite part of the day because I was alone and ate a 3rd piece in peace.