Last night I had a meal that I had no business eating.
I had no business eating it because it was completely over-the-top in terms of fat and calories, and the fat count was high enough that anyone my age just. shouldn't. eat. it.
But this is the thing of kids growing up. My German "daughter" is visiting us right now for two and a half weeks. I can't express the joy we're all feeling in having her under our roof again. S is happy, upbeat, flexible and centered. The world is her oyster. We can't help but be infected with her good cheer.
When S lived with us six years ago for her exchange year, she had come to us with few domestic skills. She's part of a lovely family where both parents are involved in running the family business and they'd had a housekeeper/cook since S was a small child. This woman, M, was really part of the family and a superb cook, to boot, so S just hadn't need to, or wanted to, learn cooking.
There was an infamous story during S's exchange year when her Art teacher said, jokingly, that S could bring her cousin to class (S's cousin was also on an exchange year and was visiting us from Virginia at the time) if S made German cookies for the class. S, always being game for anything, wrote M and asked for the recipe for favorite German cookies. M wrote back.
The short version is that S created what were sort of oatmeal cookies, but each probably weighed a quarter pound and could have been used as a blunt weapon. We all had much merriment about S and her cookies during the year.
But now S is 23, she is part of a grueling program where she goes to school six days a week for many hours per day for 10 weeks and then she works, for the same firm but in rotating positions for 12 weeks. She has an apartment that she shares with her sister, who has just started law school; she has a long-term boyfriend and a car. She gets her own salary for working for the firm, and she now has her own benefits and paid vacation, etc. In short, she is an adult.
And a cook, extraordinaire.
So yesterday, she was going to make us dinner. She wanted to make us schnitzel, mashed potatoes, broccoli and panne cotta for dessert.
The schnitzel was perfect in every way - thin wisps of pork were covered in a coating of flour, egg mixed with salt and pepper, and finally a nice layer of bread crumbs. The pork was then cooked about two minutes on each side and the taste and texture were indescribably delicious. We had two small pieces each, and both D and C were very sad there wasn't more. I've rarely had meat that I enjoyed as well. The potatoes were lovely and had the addition of nutmeg - a taste we weren't used to and all enjoyed. The broccoli was broccoli, but I basically steamed that, so this isn't part of my review.
And then there was the panne cotta: 1/2 cup of cream, .5 oz sugar and a 1/4 vanilla bean in each serving - what's not to like? This was also astonishingly easy to make - S showed me while she made it. To serve it, we melted some strawberry jam and drizzled it on top. If anyone wants either recipe, just drop me a comment or an e-mail. They're both extremely easy.
Sadly, I have no photos... we were too busy eating.
You know, there are some real advantages when kids grow up.