When Alex woke me up this morning, I was certain, and not for the first time, that he was indeed smoking crack, as it couldn’t have been even 4:30 in the morning, nonetheless 8. Someone really ought to tell him he can go back to bed for a couple hours, I mused to myself, but determining this to be a too-depleting energy expense, I simple rolled over and pretended he wasn’t there. After all, if he simply fails to wake me up this morning – if it is simply not possible – he’ll eventually have to give up and I will be able to sleep uninterrupted, forever. I am nothing if not the height of rationality in the morning.
Anyway, it didn’t work, I am sleepy and now here we are, aren’t we? Let’s step back to a more pleasant time, say, yesterday evening when this fatigue was incurred. It was a good cause, and I have no regrets, most importantly, none of the kitchen bounty variety. All of my obsessive prepping for the dinner for
ten eight six, a sly excuse for what was really a chair-warming party, paid off. Even better, I cooked nothing I wouldn’t make again, thus breaking the cardinal party-planning rule of never auditioning new recipes on dinner guests did not bite me in the tush afterall. Having such fine and well-tested resources as Leite’s Culinaria and Cook’s Illustrated, of course, helped too.
Recipe the first was for shrimp cocktail. Seeing as my husband loves cocktail sauce almost as much as he likes pickles – “I would eat anything dipped in it,” he says with not a hint of joking – when I saw that the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook had a sinfully easy recipe for it, I couldn’t resist. Appetizers should always be as simple as opening a few bottles and mixing with a spoon. As for the accompanying herb-poached shrimp, I can’t say with any certainty that the flavors of the stock get imparted in the shrimp. I’d probably just splash the wine, lemon and maybe a garlic clove in the water next time, saving a step or two. And also? We got such a giggle out of the specification of four peppercorns, and even more out of the scandalous act of tossing in seven, and not five, coriander seeds. We’re all rebel yell, aren’t we?
Continued after the jump »