So...it's now close to midnight, and after spending about 6 hours in the kitchen - basically from the minute I walked in the door from work until after our guests arrived (and then some) - I discovered that I didn't much like what I cooked...Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon...
I would take full responsibility for not liking it had I not followed the recipe to the letter, cooking the beef exactly this way and the sauce exactly that - but as luck would have it, the recipe is designed for those who actually like their meat cooked, whereas I prefer mine to put up a fight when I cut it! Everyone else raved about it, but I'll never know if they were sincere or just being polite - it's hard to tell with the English...
Good thing there was plenty of wine!
Fortunately for me, I also made a couple of loaves of French bread, which (if I do say so myself), were the BEST I've ever made...and this being only my second time actually making baguettes from scratch, I think the odds are in my favor...but anyway, that's irrelevant! The bread was AWESOME and definitely worth the few extra minutes wait for them to bake before dinner was served...
I also made Pancetta Brussel Sprouts as a side dish, which was my second favorite part of the meal. It's a Gordon Ramsay recipe that we first tried this past Christmas, and it's just too delicious to save for only holiday meals!
I suppose the worst part of the evening wasn't that I didn't personally like the main course, but that our guest Sheila, whom I'd never met, had carried on beforehand about how she'd heard what a fantastic cook I am and how much she was looking forward to being fed by me...once I learned her expectations were so high, there's no way I could live up to them - especially with a dish I wouldn't even make for myself a second time...oh the horror!!!
Did I already mention there was plenty of wine?
Every good story needs a saving grace, does it not?
It made what might have been an absoultely embarrassing evening into a somewhat acceptable one instead, which is highly preferable to this foodie.
This is NO reflection on the company, mind you...it's only my own vanity that protests the evening at all. Our guests were perfectly delightful and I'm looking forward to seeing them again very soon.