Nick and I have a small group of friends with which we have Iron Chef-inspired dinner parties.  Instead of making it a competition though, we decide on a secret ingredient as a group and then one couple makes an appetizer, one makes a salad, one makes an entree, and one makes a dessert.  It is very much fun.  We had an Iron Chef night last night, and the secret ingredient was berries.  There were prosciutto-wrapped strawberries to start, followed by a mixed green salad with goat cheese, dried cranberries, carmelized nuts (possibly pecans) and a raspberry vinaigrette, also in the salad portion were a fruit salad of mostly berries and some cantaloupe in a yogurt and mint dressing.  For the main dish (that Nick and I made with no recipe whatsoever) there were pork chops in a balsamic-blackberry sauce.  I am ridiculously proud of those pork chops, my friends.  I stewed some frozen blackberries in a little bit of water on the stovetop, rubbed the chops with salt, pepper, and thyme ( I chose thyme because it was the only spice in our cupboard to have a pork recipe on the label), then Nick helped me strain the berry goodness to get the seeds out, tossed in some water, some balsamic vinegar, and a few tablespoonfuls of honey, then marinated the chops for a couple of hours.  Took a nap.  Woke up from the nap at 6, for a party that was at 6:30 about 10 minutes away, was not dressed and had uncooked chops.  Panicked.  Yelled at undeserving husband.  Left hand was partly asleep and mostly non-functional.  Husband was partly asleep and mostly non-functional.  Heated electric skillet to like 400 degrees or close, seared all chops on both sides.  Turned heat down to about 250 degrees, added in all marinade, cooked and turned until knife stuck into largest chop showed only white, cooked meat and lots of juicy goodness.  NO PINK MEAT.  Rejoiced over the potential deliciousness, put on pants, put chops into a serving dish, garnished, poured sauce over top, foil-wrapped, and insulated with two towels.  Freaked out some more because the plan was to go dancing after dinner and I had to choose an outfit,  and we were going to be late and I hate being late.  Finally got ourselves all together except I forgot a coat,  and off we went to the party having an intense discussion on the way.  Discussion consensus: our growing ups were different. Was struck with sudden concern that the chops wouldn’t taste good.  Apologized to group in advance.  Proved to be unnecessary.

After dinner we did head into the city to go dancing, but no one wanted to start dancing at 9, like us old people.  Start at 9, be done by 12 at the latest.  We all found it totally logical, but McFadden’s dj didn’t agree, so we wandered the waterfront for a bit before heading back a little before ten.  We danced for about an hour before we were no longer the ONLY PEOPLE ON THE FLOOR, and then got were just done by about 11:30.  Man, we’re all old and cranky!  The Baron drove us all around downtown for a bit, where he coined the term Sparklewhore.  ‘Twas a good night.

This morning Nick kept saying, “I feel like I have a meeting this morning or something. . .” and then a coworker texted him that he was scheduled to work at 10.  It was ten after, at that time.  Ah, yay my lovely weekend . . . alone.

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