I think everyone should perform an exorcism at least once a year. I’m not talking about a full-on head-spinning-pea-soup-spewing exorcism. I mean the kind where you purge your personal ‘demons’ so you can move forward sans baggage and face the future fresh as a daisy. Still not convinced? Here’s the thing – each of us has one or more people in our lives at any given time who broke our heart, made us miserable, or REALLY pissed us off. A boss who fired you, “friend” who stabbed you in the back, business associate who screwed you, boyfriend who dumped you a week before Valentine’s Day. Get the picture? And I feel it’s necessary, healthy really, to acknowledge them and their dastardly deeds in some ceremonial way (pitchforks and torches optional). You purge the evil and move past it, (or think up clever ways to exact your revenge without threat of prison.) Thus the “Son-of-a-Bitch-Rat-Bastard” dinner party was born.
I’ll set the scene: head over high-heels for a guy, excited for him to finally meet the friends over dinner at Chez Karin. Three days before the party (and incidentally, a week before Valentine’s Day), the proprietress of Chez Karin (me) gets dumped. Tears? A few…cancel dinner party?? HELL NO! The menu is set, groceries and wine bought, plus why would I want to miss an opportunity for my closest friends to help me rip the bastard apart? I believe the surest cure for heartbreak is laughter, good friends and great food. The S.O.A.B.R.B. dinner party is now celebrated annually in my house and looked forward to by all with great anticipation and glee, and occasional sharpening of pitchforks.
There are a few rules to adhere to, so get your pencils:
1. Everyone must share one story. (We don’t stick to this one religiously — the wine flows and with 6+ people memory starts to get foggy…)
2. You MUST refer to your ‘evil doer’, regardless of gender, as a ‘son-of-a-bitch-rat-bastard’ and that MUST be followed by ‘PTEW’ while pretending to spit on the floor, as if just the thought of them left a vile wicked taste in your mouth. Please don’t spit for real. No hostess is that gracious, and if you do you may be remembered “in absentia” at next year’s event, if you get my drift.
3. Updates on unfortunate incidences in the lives of previous S.O.A.B.R.B ‘honorees’ are allowed (such as bad hair color jobs, toupees, bad hygiene, and marrying MUCH younger women…hence the bad hair color jobs.) However, these should not be dwelled upon, unless you are all having way too much fun to let it go.
4. You can’t wish the offending party anything so bad you couldn’t handle if it were returned to you — i.e. rashes, bad zit or cold sore on important picture day, untimely flatulence are ok, decapitation not so much. Karma and all that…
5. At the end of the gathering you should all join hands together in a circle, and wish the collective S.O.A.B.R.B.(s) love and light. We never seem to get to this part…
6. Consume lots of good food and wine, and LAUGH…A LOT!
This past year’s event featured comfort foods, as is appropriate. The highlight of the menu was and over-the-top macaroni and cheese my friends Lee and Lynn brought over, which will forever more be known as “Rat Bastard” Mac ‘n Cheese. It’s highly therapeutic, with a fat content specifically amplified for soaking up all the sacrificial wine…
“Rat Bastard” Mac ‘n Cheese (Serves one plus best friends)
- 8 oz pancetta, finely chopped
- 2lbs pasta (elbow macaroni or other)
- 8 Tbsp butter
- 3 medium onions
- 1/2 c. flour
- 7 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup white wine
- salt & pepper
- 8 oz grated gruyere
- 8 oz grated emmentaler (jarlsberg)
- 8 oz. fontina (Danish ok)
- 8 oz. mascarpone
- 1 cup + panko crumbs
- 4 oz finely grated parmesan
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Cook pasta till barely al dente.
Melt 1 TBSP butter over medium heat in large sauce pan (8 qt). Sauté pancetta in 1 TBSP butter; remove when crisp. Add onions; reduce to low. Cook stirring lots, till golden and very soft — about 20 minutes.
Add balance of butter to onions and melt. Whisk in flour; cook one minute. Whisk in milk slowly. Raise heat to medium and whisk constantly till mixture begins to thicken and bubble (5 min+). Add wine, salt and pepper. Bring to low simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce to low. Stir in all the cheeses except the mascarpone. When the cheeses have melted, stir in pancetta and mascarpone.
Mix panko, Parmesan and olive oil and set aside.
Mix pasta and sauce. Put into pan and sprinkle with crumbs. Bake till top is brown and cheese bumbling, 40-45 minutes. (Cover if browns too quickly.)
Let rest at least 15 minutes. DIG IN AND ENJOY!
Calories: …these calories don’t count; they get burned up in the exorcism.
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