Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week Night Hurrah

Husband: Honey, do you mind if _________ spends a few days with us next week? 

Self: Hmmm.

Self in my head:  I like your friend.  I like that you have friends.  I have friends that I couldn't live without.  But we both work full time, very intense jobs during the week and when we get home, we fall into our chairs with very simple fare set between us as "dinner." Even calling it dinner, makes it sound more formal than it usually is. 

Self: If your friend needs you, and a place to stay, sure. It won't be that bad.

I have a Wednesday meeting that will go to 5 pm. What can I make ahead for dinner?  Ina Garten will provide me with something.  I relocate Chicken Bouillabaisse Recipe made a year ago for family. Oh, I really liked the details of the recipe and the depth of Provencal flavors.  And since, I 'm cooking, why not invite another couple over as well?  And since it is turning into an event, it will need a tablescape.  Simple with rustic overtones, but homey and welcoming.

All of a sudden, I transformed from grumpy begrudging wife to party planning glee girl. What started out as a Hmmmm, turned into a Hurrah!  As it turns out, it is very nice to plan, prepare and sit down to warm and nourishing simple dinner, light some candles and share a meal with good friends on a week night. I highly recommend this practice, this gift for the soul.

Briar Rose Placemats and napkins purchased on sale month ago from Bed Bath and Beyond. My favorite Pope Gosser Rose Point china, circa 1940's (long story about how they came into my life but it involves an army hospital) and pink etched glass goblets purchased in December from Amazon.com.
Chicken Bouillabaise, featured in Ina Garten's Back to Basics, delicious one pot meal made one day ahead of time and reheated in the oven for one hour before guests arrived.  Lots of ingredients but they add depth of flavor - saffron, garlic, pernod, fennel, etc.   Not as complicated as the reviews say. Worth it.

Simple flowers in a water goblet surrounded by votive candles.
Avalon silverplate because I love the soup spoons. Ebay purchase. Easy to clean with Tarnex.

Rustic rosemary bread wrapped in extra napkin.

Rose point embossed china, delicate and lovely. For more details see Loving My Pope Gosser post
Start with a lovely French wine (doesn't have to be expensive) and you have a weeknight Hurrah!  So glad I slowed down long enough to plan a meal with friends.  What else could be better? Or as Ina would say, "What's not to like about that?"