Monday, July 12, 2010

Decisions, decisions

For perhaps the first time in my life, I've done a fairly good job of sticking with the resolutions I decided to make for myself at the beginning of already-half-over 2010. Go team me! I've read a handful of great books (if you haven't read The Glass Castle, you MUST), I get random bursts of energy where I tackle parts of the house and de-clutter like nobody's business, and although I haven't quite talked myself into a 5k just yet, I am tempted daily to sign up for a 10k that Bev and Bridget are doing in October (I am well aware of how little sense this makes, but I'm gonna go with it).

I mentioned awhile back that I purchased a personal self defense training course on We Give To Get, and while I am still excited about that (and trying to schedule for sometime in August), I am 1,000 times MORE excited about another recent We Give To Get purchase - a 3-hour Private Cooking Lesson with Chef Brian Merel. I. Cannot. WAIT.

Chef Merel strives to "teach, guide, inspire and enlighten" his students about food and cooking, and based on some of the reviews I've read online about him (not to mention the sample menus on his website), I'm in for a treat. The thought of a professional spending three solid hours with me in my kitchen teaching me some incredible new dishes is just thrilling, and I can't even imagine how much knowledge I'll gain from a one-on-one lesson like this.

Besides the outstanding price ($35 for a session that usually runs $250), the part I am most excited about is that as part of the deal, I get to choose what I want to use my lesson for. Seeing as I spend a lot of time socializing over food, talking about food, and swapping recipes with them, I've decided to throw a little girl's night dinner party for my very favorite girlfriends. Chef Merel will come to my house, we'll cook and we'll chat*, and we'll serve up some fantastic food for my friends, some of whom have never been to the house before! Again - I. Cannot. Wait. (*I'm also secretly hoping that Chef Merel and I will totally hit it off and become BFF's, because I'm pretty sure everyone needs a professional chef for a friend.)

With my party planned less than two weeks from now, I'm encountering a couple of slight problems -
1. I cannot decide for the life of me what I'd like Chef Merel to teach me.
2. I'm having serious anxiety about my lack of "nice" dishes and servingware.

Since I bring it up nearly every time I talk to her, Lauren has been my most popular sounding board in figuring out issue #1. So far, her suggestion to learn to cook some serious comfort food is at the top of my list (I'm picturing mac & cheese with half a dozen different cheeses. Um, yum). I DO know that I want to learn a new mouth-watering sans-chocolate dessert, since, you know, chocolate makes me feel like death, but other than that I'm stumped. I'm thinking a date with my Bon Appetit archives is in the cards for this week, so fingers crossed I find something I'm just dying to learn.

Issue #2 is less of an actual issue and more of me being obsessed with perfection when it comes to my home. But, this is nothing a little trip to Crate & Barrel or Ikea can't solve :).

Besides learning how to use the food setting on my snazzy camera, I have a few little projects around the house that I want to get done before the party (like finally finishing the nightstands I've had in the basement with one coat of paint on for FAR too long), so I've got my hands full for the next couple of weeks. I will DEFINITELY be posting again after my evening with Chef Merel to document what I'm sure will be an incredible time!

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