Saturday, May 30, 2009

Good Times Revisited -And I was on TV

What an amazing time we had last night. I’ve started a few other posts with similar sentiments but few things come as close to this particular evening. We gathered once again at my friend Rick’s house. I was in New England on business this week and seeing my old friends from days past was just really special. I’ll give you a little history and maybe you’ll understand why. Just over 6 years ago I began working for a relatively small medical software company based out of Westerly, Rhode Island, right on the Connecticut border. It was a great job. The company was privately owned and very tight knit. I could pick up the phone and talk to the CEO (owner) about any issue. I became close friends with my Vice President and dined at a sidewalk café in Brussels with the president (the owner’s lawyer brother). As with many successful small companies, this one was gobbled up by a much larger company. While my company became less a “mom and pop” operation, it was still a fantastic place to work and I circled the globe for them. Unfortunately, the times shifted. The economy worsened and large capital purchased began drying up. The layoffs began. An office that was once busting at the seams with no more cubicles for people to squeeze in was becoming a ghost town. It was only a matter of time for me. I had been promoted to a position that in good times was much needed but, unfortunately, in leaner times was not. I knew this. I’d known this for some time. It was actually more stressful in the months leading up to my layoff than in the days, weeks, and months that followed. The only super sad part in the whole deal was the instant loss of my friends almost 1800 miles away. I spent more time with my extended family in Rhode Island than I did with my own. We worked, ate, drank and travelled together to many exciting and fun places. I have blog post after blog post about our dinner parties and restaurant adventures.

Little did I know back in January that my next job would have me in New England again relatively soon and perhaps often. This week was the second time. The first was in an ice storm and we just couldn’t hook up. This time though, the plans were set. Not only was I headed to Rick’s for one of our coveted dinner parties and not only was I going to cook for friends who put me on a pedestal (completely unnecessarily) for preparing the meal, but the show I taped back in January with the Food Network was coincidentally going to debut. I couldn’t have scripted a better time. The menu consisted of variations of things I’ve posted before: Bacon wrapped scallops seared on the grill (I used monkfish for the original post) with a lime and sriarchi aioli, Orzo salad with radishes, dill and cucumber, and a cold cucumber and yoghurt soup. While the food turned out better than I even hoped for, this night was really a celebration of friendship. There was a time that I didn’t think I’d see these folks again and here we were just a few months later, laughing, joking and eating just as we always had.

The show, Dear Food Network, features viewers asking questions of the celebrity chefs and they usually answer them from afar. I was told they were going to do a small viewer profile of me doing a cooking demo in my back yard. It was all a scam. The plan was to surprise me with the Nealys (a husband and wife celebrity chef team) really showing up to grill with me. It worked. They got me and it was all featured on the show. I had a pretty large segment, I thought. My phone was ringing off the hook. My Facebook and emails blew up. My friends were calling to let me know they were watching. It was pretty surreal to me. As much as I hated to end this night, I had an early plane to catch. These are good people. The kind of people we all strive to have as friends. After a round of warm embraces, I was off to bed.

Still on cloud 9 over the whole experience, I’m currently at 35,000 feet headed home. A touch bleary eyed from little sleep, I’m hoping this Bloody Mary will have some rejuvenating magic. Probably not. Even so, I’m looking forward to getting back home to the family. My son is visiting from Alabama and he’s only there a few more days. He was, by the way, accepted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the fall. I’m quite proud.

I now have a recipe to share with you that tops all I have ever posted. Take note.

8-12 good friends (that means the kind you don’t mind telling them how special they are)
Some good food (You can order take out if you don’t want to cook)
Good beer and wine
Warm thoughts
Engaging conversation
A few jokes
Optional- someone in the crowd is on TV that night.

Mix all of these ingredients in one room until smooth. Serve warm and enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Well done! I'm making the stuffed jalepeno's for this evening's pre-scheduled follow-up gathering- wish you could be here. Let me know when you're back in town and we shall do it again! RFS

Anonymous said...

Well said in your recipe! Best wishes to your future endeavors. -Paul VH (Janice Parrott's hubby)