We had Steven and Tawney Cooper over for dinner last night, and we had such a good time swapping stories, telling jokes, and trying new wines. They brought us a great new chianti called Castello Di Gabbiano. (I’m going to add this one to our new Wine Review page, along with some other great wines you might want to try.) Carissa and I served a Tomato Basil Soup entree, with a Spinach salad topped with Avocado, dried Cranberries, Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Parsley, Cilantro, and Apple wood Smoked Bacon with an Balsamic Italian Herb dressing. But there were a few things “food-wise” that I could have done differently, and I wanted to share them with you so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Whenever people come over for dinner, I have a few rules that I live by, and the main one is that I never try a new recipe. Growing up, my mom would invite folks over for dinner, and then would spend that entire day whipping up some recipe she saw in Southern Living that involved spices we had never heard of, much less had in our kitchen. Typically, about an hour before the guests arrived, our kitchen looked like a 4 year old’s playroom with utensils and food everywhere, we were on our 3rd attempt of the recipe, no one had showered, and the entire family was in the kitchen trying to bring the meal together. Sometimes it was a great success. Sometimes it was not. In fact, one time we had to go buy fast food for our guests because we had failed in our meal attempt and had nothing else to serve them. (We didn’t have a Boston Market around us then)
While this can make for great stories later in life, I did not want to repeat this mistake. So, I don’t try new recipes when guest are coming over. However, last night while making the soup, I was doubling the recipe (that is another rule – always make a little more than you think you need) and forgot to add the 2nd onion. I had caramelized the 1st onion at the beginning of the recipe with garlic, but by the time I realized it, the soup was already made and I had an extra uncooked onion sitting there. Rather than take out another pan and caramelize this onion, I just decided to chop it up and throw it in the pot….Bad Idea. This is my favorite Tomato Basil Soup recipe, and I know how it is supposed to taste. Adding the 2nd onion without cooking it first really stole a lot of flavor out of the soup. So, I did not obey the time time honored tradition of “follow the recipe” last night, and I paid for it.
Don’t get me wrong – the soup was still pretty good, and the Coopers were very kind and gracious. But you know that feeling you get when you know how good something can be and you know you could have done better? Yeah. That was last nights’ Tomato Basil Soup.
I will add the Tomato Basil Soup recipe to the blog shortly, and unlike me, just try to follow the recipe.