Recently, I had the pleasure of hosting a “Cooking with Cocktails” dinner party for our cousin Kristen to celebrate her birthday with some of her dear friends. As the chef, I led the culinary adventure with a cooking demonstration complete with tips and insights tailored to a menu we've selected in advance. Our guests love to get involved and help prep the meal while imbibing some potent cocktails - crafted by Marc - our in-house bartender. This marked the third year that we gathered for this annual tradition. Our culinary theme had a distinct Italian flair and we started the evening with a mushroom crostini, by special request.
We progressed with an arugula salad with dried cranberries (that are rehydrated with orange juice), creamy goat cheese, pecans and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. For our entrée, I prepared a rigatoni with a cream-based Bolognese sauce enriched with porcini mushrooms, ground beef and mild Italian sausage, and aromatic vegetables. For dessert, a tiramisu with dusted cocoa, lady fingers soaked in strong coffee and a bit of rum, and an unctuous creamy mix of mascarpone, eggs yolks, sugar, and heavy cream – all whipped together to combine with all those layers of goodness. Four courses, four incredible women, and countless unforgettable moments.
The laughter and stories ensue as Marc mixes up cocktails and the sound of glasses that 'cheer' in unison. I love spending time with them, they are all Moms of young kids and I know that they enjoy a night away from their usual routine – and they deserve it wholeheartedly. Marc and I are delighted to pamper them and make the entire evening a fun, sometime raucous, laughter-filled celebration. These four women have a beautiful bond and it is a joy to watch them interact.
They remind me that I’ve been so lucky to have strong, unique, and smart women in my inner circle. I am grateful for the long lasting friendships that have graced me with knowledge, points of view, opinions, thoughts, emotions, love & loss, successes, beauty & style, trends, talents and most importantly relationships that are bonded by trust, honesty and mutual appreciation.
My friends in many ways have shaped who I am today. The remarkable qualities I observe in them inspire me to become a more well-rounded individual, encouraging me to explore and learn, offering me profound opportunities to become a better individual.
All the women in my life have bestowed upon me an invaluable gift, and I express my gratitude by emulating the qualities that make these special people so exceptional. I am a composite of all these incredible women who have influenced and educated me, and for that, I am eternally thankful.