I will take this moment to reminisce about a scene that happened in my life pre-blog (thus there is only one incriminating photo). It involved two of my best friends and a lot of rice.
Craig flew all the way from Atlantie to Omaha in August just to visit Megan and me (and Eric) for a most excellent four-day weekend. We didn't do any of the typical things I make people do when they visit me in Omaha (in my attempt to impress them that this town is cosmopolitan and not all about cows and Cornhuskers, even though it sort of is). So instead of going to the zoo or the Old Market or Dundee or a concert or or or something, we decided to have a cook-off, to be judged by Megan's (completely biased) boyfriend, Eric.
Let me give you a hint of how dangerous this idea could have been to our friendship: I am the least competitive of the three. Not exaggerating. Before we really started planning the meal and after we designated a course for each of us to cook (Craig drew dessert out of the hat), we had to set down rules. Rule 1: The dish had to be one we had never made before. Rule 2: In the vein of Iron Chef America, we would all use one ingredient in our dishes: rice. (Megan and I both broke rule number two).
Craig decided to make rice pudding. I made an orzo/tomato/ mozzarella salad. Megan made fish tacos. Technically orzo isn't rice, it's pasta. But it looks like rice, and I bet the Iron Chef peeps would let it slide. And we totally forgot to make the Spanish rice portion of Megan's meal. At any rate, Eric deemed Craig's "the most delicious." Craig was a gracious winner (for about 3 seconds) and was so excited about his new masterpiece that he made it the following night for Megan's family who was in town for her graduation.
He cooked the rice on the stove and then with the eggs and cream and whatever else in the oven. And really, his presentation was by far the best of the previous night's dishes. A small helping in a cute little ice cream bowl was topped with a dollop of whipped cream and (drum roll please) a cinnamon stick and nutmeg.
So Craig and Megan are taking orders and dolling out the dessert while Krista and I are talking about boys in the kitchen. Craig comes back to dish out his own rice pudding and picks up the nutmeg to discover that it's not nutmeg at all. It's chili powder. I almost fell off the counter I was sitting on, and Megan ran out into the living room shouting, in true Anne of Green Gables fashion, "Don't eat it! Don't eat the rice pudding!" (remember when Anne finds a dead mouse in the flour and doesn't tell anybody ... or maybe not, was I the only one raised on PBS in the 80s). It was too late. They had already devoured the rice pudding and hadn't even noticed the chili powder. Classic kitchen moment.
Photo credit: Food Network