Steps to hosting a successful dinner party:
1. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to poison your dinner guests with rancid sesame oil.
That’s pretty much covers it all.
Fortunately, disaster averted and the attendees are, so far, out of harm’s way from any gastrointestinal distress.
The catastrophe almost happened because Blue Apron shorted me an ingredient in our recipe box this week, a small bottle of rice vinegar. There should have been two small bottles in the brown bag of “knick knacks” but, as I’ve been apt to do lately, went overlooked because I just assumed every ingredient was present and accounted for.
Instead of marinating the red onion in the rice vinegar, I emptied the contents of the sesame oil bottle into the bowl of chopped onion. Helpful cooking tip: always look at what you’re pouring before you actually pour. Realizing my mistake, I searched high and low for the missing bottle of vinegar, de-oilified the onions by rinsing in water, and substituted balsamic vinegar instead. That left me short on sesame oil. Had I looked ahead in the cooking instructions, I would have seen that it wouldn’t have made much a difference anyway since the onions were going into the cucumber salad which consisted of, you guessed it, the sesame oil. Too hasty of a dump. So when it was finally time to assemble the cucumber salad with the marinated onion, sliced cucumbers, sugar, garlic, ginger, and Thai basil, I grabbed the bottle of sesame oil I knew we had from the pantry.
Cooking needn’t be a sprint to the finish where you’re distracted enough that you overlook critical details like the expiration date on the bottle of sesame oil from your pantry.
Dost the oil even spoil?
I’m not sure? After a year and a half post expiration, I didn’t want to take a chance. I sampled a finger-full and something tasted…off.
Imagine you’re hosting a dinner party for you Father-in-Law (age: 60s) and his new girlfriend. If that wasn’t an already awkward scenario, imagine preparing a meal that gave everyone the runs. Welcome to our home, now let’s compete for bathroom time! Time to rebuke the cukes.
The entrée portion of this meal was fine – glazed chicken thighs in a savory-sweet hoisin sauce. There was also enough ginger and garlic rice to go around. And the best part, none of the dinner guests knew just how close to disaster they came because I was alone in the house while this all went down. See no evil, taste no evil.
The chicken and rice alone wasn’t enough to feed 6 of us, so the children were supplemented with the organic version of Lucky Charms. Smug, misguided Mother-me says, “the organic make them sooooo much healthier.”
Even with so many meals under my belt, I’m still capable of making disastrous cooking errors! Only two more to write-up and then I can put this cooking blog series to rest. I have a fun idea in mind for another series that involves travel – something I’ve been desperately missing and itching to do for a while. Back to entertaining I go with a trusty Australian beer. Tonight I hope to dream of red earth, cerulean skies, and the parched vistas of the Southern land I visited a decade ago.