You meet, you wonder if they would be fun to spend time with, you ponder asking them to join you for dinner, a little nervous about asking. Then you muster up the nerve to ask and you get nervous about the “date” you all are going on.
The first couple of years my husband and I moved to Chicago, we had many first dates, but not many seconds, and really no thirds. We would invite couples over for dinner. I would try to wow them with my culinary skills and cheery hosting demeanor. We would drink wine, talk, laugh, and never hear from them again. It was crushing. We would ask ourselves, “Did I say something offensive?”
“Did I drink too much?”
“Did I give them food poisoning?”
“Are we boring?”
We never figured it out.
Finally, in the last year we have found some couples that we have actually had second, third, and even fourth gatherings with. We are happy to have found some friends. And having other couples to hang out with means that we get to host more dinners. This is something we truly love to do.
Last weekend we had great long-time friends of ours and their daughter over for dinner. They had made a trek to Chicago to see how their daughter did in the car before trying to attempt to drive 17 hours to Austin for the South by Southwest festival. I give them total props for this. Not only does their daughter get to experience a true road trip and an awesome music festival, but we also got to benefit from it as well. It was great to have them.
I wanted to make the meal special, so I decided to make another attempt at some braised short ribs. This time, I looked at recipes from Bon Appetite and The CIA Cookbook The Professional Chef. Taking those to recipes, plus putting in some of my own additions created one heck of a meal if I do say so myself.
Braised Short Ribs
4 lb Braised Short Ribs
2 Tb Vegetable Oil
10 Shallots, halved
1 Pt Crimini Mushrooms
4 Tb Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
1 qt Veal Stock*
1 c Demi Glace *
2 c Dry Red Wine