My daughter is a very good cook. She should be, I taught her. So what did she learn from me? To always go with the tried and true? Nope. I rarely do that. To experiment on your guests? Yup. She does it all the time. We had a great Roasted Portobello and Prosciutto Lasagna at her house the day after Thanksgiving. She of course had never made it before, but pulled it off with ease and panache. We had a great time.
The new house she and her fiancee bought is in one of those neighborhoods that has a lot of neighborhood parties. They attended their first one last night. Lots of people in their forties and fifties were there. She decided to bring some gougeres, but she has never made puff paste and may have slightly messed up the execution. Okay, she really messed it up, but the result was still not bad. Being my daughter, she was not willing to settle for a so-so showing. So, in typical making-her-mama proud fashion, she whipped up this Red Velvet Cake two hours before they had to be at the party. I'm so proud I could almost cry. Or toast her with some bubbly. Or both. Yeah, let's go with the bubbly. She tells me it was the hit of the party and all the old folks, (her words) gobbled it up and chatted them up the whole night. I have just one caveat for her: now they will expect great things from you. You now have a reputation to live up to. Could it be the birth of the Gates Foodie? Perhaps. But she's still too nice. Chalk it up to youth.