The rhythm and busy peacefulness of cooking together in the kitchen seems to sweeten all kinds of relationships. When two or more people create a meal to share, there can be nothing but a happy cooperation and a harmony of movement. There is mutual problem solving, confidence in one another as we make impromptu changes to a recipe, and a building of energy as one good idea leads to another. Cooking with another person, to me, is a way to be really present with her, or him. I have a mental list of friends with whom I’d love to cook someday, as way to gain insight into their authentic selves and with whom to share a similar piece of myself.

There are many people in my life who make me yearn to have my own Star Trek transporter, and my best friend Rosa is one of them. I wish we could beam ourselves routinely into each other’s homes, instead of navigating the two hours of roadway between us. Silly physics.

Rosa and I started cooking together in high school when we hosted an Academic Decathlon dinner for our team. I cooked with many of my friends in high school, the guys and the gals. We had game nights and mystery parties. My goodness, how I love those friends-like-family to this day!

When the college years and my somewhat reclusive personality had put some distance between us, Rosa came to the rescue with recipes for pumpkin penne and flying apple saucers. What were we then, maybe 24 or 25? It was a moment in our friendship when I knew that I would always want my unconditional love for her to win out over my hermit tendencies. I make that pumpkin penne at least once a year, not just because it is super tasty, but because it reminds me of her and all that I have in her.

A few weeks ago, Rosa happened to mention wanting to make Beef Wellington. I have been wanting to make Beef Wellington for years, as well. Please tell me I am not the only person who puts recipes on her bucket list??

And so the concept of Beef Wellington Day was born.

We divvied up ingredients, Rosa offered to drive down (what a gift—it was really my turn to drive up, but she was kind), and we brainstormed sides and dessert: roasted green beans with shallots, smashed red potatoes with garden rosemary, and Asian gingered pear tart. This last contribution was Rosa’s brilliant creation. I have just a sliveriest sliver left in the fridge as we wrap up the night—delish!

Somehow,we managed to pull it off with three kids ages 4, 17 months, and 4 months. Not sure how, but we did.

Rosa and Katie make the duxelles for the Beef Wellington

Golden…crispy…and inside, perfectly medium rare and tender filet. Yummers!

My sorry attempt at a picture of the pear tart… For one thing, I could only take a picture of part of it since I had mauled one of the ends in a  ravenous eating frenzy.

Rosa, who is well known in the foodie world for her writing, recipes, and reviews, has much better pictures and more of a narrative of our process at her website Dining with the Catty Critic. Or, she will have them there shortly. She a busy, loving mama, so it might be a few days.

Oh, and there is one grave  and important world concern I must address. For those who might be appalled at our wanton, wild, immodest use of pastry in both the Wellington and the pear tart, I ask with all seriousness: Can there ever really be such a thing as too much pastry?

The answer, clearly, is NO.

Puff pastry enhances everything.

Good night!

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