Archive for March 29th, 2012














I’m starting to realize that I’m pretty blessed.  This cooking thing has been so simple, and support has just been magically coming in.  I’d always heard that doing the things you love can be so difficult, so much work, but somehow I’m missing that part, and only getting the fun.

So I had the chance to cook for two very special birthdays over the past few weeks.  A party of eleven for my friend Nikki, which I hosted at my place in Downtown Orlando; and a party of six this past Saturday at my parents’ house for my brother Kyle’s 35th.  Nikki’s party was the first I’d hosted and Nikki is literally the hostess with the mostess, so the prospect of cooking for her party was intimidating.  Plus it was a dinner that would be kind of a prequel to the parties I’ll be hosting for my friends for actual payment.  I volunteered as a way to impress my friends…to show them that this cooking thing was a big deal, and that it’s not just another random project to keep me busy.  That I’m actually good at it, and it will be worth it for them to part with obscene amounts of their money over the next few months in order to taste my amazing creations (ok, not obscene…actually I’m charging a rather modest $15-20 per person).

I made quite the meal…started with some Midnight Moon goat cheese, crackers, nuts and fruit, then moved on to pan-seared scallops topped with a cucumber-cilantro sauce.  The main course was Guinness braised beef over crostini and linguine with kale pesto (the kale pesto is from another blogger…in pursuit of more), and for dessert black & tan brownies (also made with Guinness).  It was a pretty incredible meal, and everyone had a great time.  The guest list added a couple when my roommate and her boyfriend joined us, but there was plenty of food, and everything got rave reviews.  As I sat on the balcony with Nikki in the last minutes of the party, I heard my friend tell me she was proud of me.  That she could see that I was happy with myself and that this cooking thing really fit me.  Those words were pretty powerful for me.

So my next meal was a week later, at my mom & dad’s.  My brother came in from Brooklyn for his 35th birthday, and I asked to cook for him.  There’s something special about cooking a meal for your big brother’s birthday.  Something incredibly adult, but still innocent about it.  It’s like you revert back to being in kindergarten drawing a picture or gluing macaroni to a piece of paper in the shape of his face…but of course your using incredibly sharp knives, ovens, and drinking wine.  The process is all wrapped up in love and thoughts of our growing up years…he’s one of the first people I ever met and the only person who has known me my whole life (other than my parents), so all of this emotion is rolled up into the meal.  Memories of watching Star Wars over and over again every summer; running for my life after I’d done something to really piss him off and he was chasing me toward my room with what I thought at the time was absolutely lethal intent; crying with him in his room after our first horrible day of school in a new city.  And now, as an adult, sharing a bottle of wine with him and ringing in the end of his 35th year with a pot roast, Brussels sprouts, scalloped potatoes, rosemary sriracha aioli and chocolate souffle.  I think it is one of the best times I’ll ever have in my life.  And it makes me realize that I’m doing the right thing by cooking for the people I love.

I’m glad that Nikki and Kyle were the first people I got to share this with.  They are important people in my life for very different reasons.  Kyle, for having been by my side through a lifetime of growing up, and Nikki for being supportive of me and truly being one of the first people to understand what I’m doing here.  Explaining to each of them that by cooking for them I was starting to find my place, my purpose, was a wonderful thing.

Read Full Post »