Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A BOLD move

So as any home cook can tell you, making food for friends can be stressful. Out of my group of friends, there are not a huge group of cooks. For the most part, its myself, and Kate.

Meet Kate.  Kate has been a dear friend of mine for over 7 years. Not only is she a friend, she married one of my great friends of over 12 years. Kate and I share a few core values:
1. Sarcasm above all else
2. Food is the closest thing to heaven on earth
3. Sometimes you have to hurt feelings to get shit done.

So the reason for the name of the blog. Kate and Kayla had talked about doing a friends dinner this past Saturday. When Kate agreed to host, she said she was going to make her lasagna. It just so happens, that is one of my more popular dishes with friends/family. It's also one of my personal favorites. Seven layers, so decadent that it actually induces a coma, and a full two days to cook. So needless to say, when I heard that Kate was making lasagna, the gloves were off. She was given full disclosure that I would ABSOLUTELY be critical in this post and not pull any punches. But before the main course...

Presentation was excellent. Olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, with two dressings offered. A light ranch and a light italian. I had very little of the salad given that the lasagna was on the way, so I can't speak to the salad other than how pretty it was. But as pretty as it was, I was NOT about to waste space for rabbit food after I saw what Kate went through to make the main course...

Home made sauce. Not anything like my own, but delicious. I'm a huge oregano guy when it comes to my sauce, Kate's was significantly more subtle. Bay leave was prominent, could definitely taste the garlic (theres no such thing as to much garlic), and a nice amount of salt. My sauce tends to pack more of a punch. It isn't my style, but it was damn good.


Ricotta cheese with Mozz. Whipped well. Creamy, delicious. Don't think much was done to it prior to being lathered on the lasagna. 

And the finished product. Is there ANYTHING better looking than melted cheese. No, no there is not. For this shindig, Kate and fam pulled out all the stops. 

You see that. That's fresh made (from scratch) Italian bread. HUGE win. First time Kate said it had gone the way she intended. Super crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. It was incredibly well done. 

And plated. A HUGE slab of cheese, meat, sauce, and pasta. Bread to pick up what ever gets left behind. Heaven. The cheese on top was thick. Sweet italian sausage with ground beef. A nice balance of the two. The sauce was generous however not over powering. I use hot and sweet italian sausage and generally veal. Not to mention the heat my sauce usually has (red peppers, yellow peppers). There was no heat in this. The flavor profile was not complex. It was simple, but executed extremely well. And Kate wasn't done. 

Turtle dove cheese cake. Caramel, chocolate, pecans, and more cheese. One of the only desserts I could generally be bothered with. After TWO portions of lasagna, I barely found room for a small piece of this,  but of course, I did. It was awesome. I don't bake. I don't know anything about baking. I rarely do dessert. I don't eat enough cake/cheese cake/dessert in general to say anything about this other than, well, yum...

It almost pains me to be so gushy in this. I really almost wanted this to be an epic failure so I could prove how objective I was, prove that just because I know people I won't play nice. It was my shot at integrity in journalism. Instead, Kate nailed it. It was not the lasagna I would make. It is not the way that I make my sauce. And yet, it was all very homey, very delicious and made with the kind of care only a friend who knew some jerk behind a keyboard would judge it could do. Hats off dear friend, it was a raving success. 

Off to look for something else to eat....