Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Almost ready for improv

Remember your first date? You wanted everything to be perfect; you packed your juiciest peaches 'n' cream Lip Smackers gloss, pinched your cheeks and tousled your hair the way girls do in movies. You primped and you preened and you obsessed.

That was me, getting ready for my first dinner guest. Forget that Ashleigh, my guest, came to this apartment before we even brought in furniture. It was going to be hard to blow her away since she helped pick out the dining table. But I still wanted to set a gorgeous table with Anthropologie napkins and my grandmother's trivet, serve a delish meal, wow her with my cheap wine and serve perfectly chilled chocolate raspberry mousse.

Here's how it really went:
I decided to serve baked three-cheese pasta, a recipe from "Anyone Can Cook." It is basically a glorified Mac-N-Cheese; it calls for pasta, butter, milk, American cheese, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese.

I had hoped to attempt to make chocolate raspberry mousse, but that takes two hours to chill, and since I was busy from 9 a.m. this morning, that didn't happen.

I had barely dropped the ziti in the pot when Ashleigh came in. My timing was epically off. I preheated the oven too early, turned it off when I realized that, and forgot to preheat again. I underestimated the time it would take to: Make the pasta, preheat the oven, add the cheese and milk and butter, bake the pasta, stir it, bake some more and then cool for 10 minutes. I was practically buzzed off wine by the time we served the pasta!

Me, serving up my concoction.

Ashleigh, getting ready to enjoy my concoction.

The pasta was good; it was cheesy and filling, but not too much. But even though I followed the instructions to the T, it definitely needs some kick. Maybe chicken, or tomatoes, or bread crumbs on top, or ham, or bacon, or chives. Just ... something.

And Ashleigh was a great first dinner guest. She wasn't disappointed at my utter failure to wow her and surprise her with mousse and luckily, she enjoyed two scoops of Haagen Dazs Fleur de Sel caramel ice cream (OMG so good), so I felt like I was a good date.

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