Tuesday, April 1, 2008

28 November: Moving Survey & Dinner For Stefanie

I spent this morning cleaning house and then made one of my favorite desserts, Chocolate Brownie Puddle, in preparation for having Stefanie over for dinner this evening. Unfortunately the chocolate ganache didn’t turn out quite right this time – I think some of the water from the double boiler may have gotten into the chocolate – so it turned out rather dull and pasty instead of smooth and shiny, but it tasted just as good. I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks trying to decide what to make for Stefanie. I know she only eats chicken and fish, so I decided chicken would be the safest choice, but then I couldn’t settle on a simple, fool-proof recipe. Much as I enjoy cooking, I rarely cook for other people, so I am a bit rattled whenever I have guests over. I also don’t like to be cooking everything at the last minute, but I’m not great at planning out what should happen when. My mom came to the rescue with a very simple recipe for chicken breasts sautéed in a white wine sauce, which will be accompanied by roasted potatoes and a green salad. For an appetizer, we found a recipe for pear and blue cheese crostinis that I can prepare in advance and just pop in the oven when Stefanie arrives.

This afternoon I had to take a break from my meal preparations to await the arrival of a representative from Hartmann, the German moving company, who would be completing a survey of our belongings that we wanted shipped back to the States. I had prepared a list just like last time, identifying the items room by room. A young woman from Hartmann rang promptly at 2:00 and I took her through the house, pointing out everything, and gave her my list. Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of our traumatic moving day in Michigan, when the movers insisted that they weren’t allowed to ship bikes or skis!

John got home early as instructed and Stefanie arrived precisely at 6:00. Fortunately I had dinner mostly under control by that point, but I knew she wouldn’t mind watching some of the last-minute preparations since she has always expressed a keen interest in my cooking. The crostinis were a big hit (you chop and sauté the pears, place a spoonful on each baguette slice, top with crumbled blue cheese, and toast in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts) and dinner went off without a hitch. We had a wonderful time chatting with Stefanie, of course, but I was saddened that this would most likely be the last time I see her. After dessert, I brought out Stefanie’s goodbye gift, the pink-and-gray ribbed scarf that I have been working on for nearly a year. I just managed to finish it last night and barely had enough yarn to make it long enough. I’m pretty sure she would have liked just about anything I knitted for her, but hopefully she will enjoy wearing this scarf and remembering all of the good times we shared over mugs of tea and my travel photos. We had a little photo shoot with Cody and then bid our farewells. I will never forget Stefanie – from the first day she walked into our classroom in Esslingen, blue eyes twinkling behind her round glasses, I knew she was going to be fun. I could not have asked for a better teacher to guide me through the ins and outs of “that awful German language.”

No comments: