We are heading to Baltimore to my BIL’s for a sad family occasion this upcoming weekend. We’ll be staying with him as we always do and I’d like to cook at least a couple of nice-ish dinners for 3 adults (and a 3-year old spring onion, but he’ll likely eat spaghetti and meatballs for 3 nights straight). Problem is, I need recipes that cause minimal stress to my BIL. He is Type A++ and while he fashions himself as an Italophile and someone to whom good food is very important, last time I looked in his fridge, nearly every food item was hermetically sealed in plastic and manufactured far from Baltimore (and it wasn’t Italy). His IKEA cookware doesn’t look like they’ve ever been used. Every time I do something in the kitchen (even toasting bread in the morning), I feel his vigilant eyes on me. He reminds me that the stack of dish towels are there to be used. His clean-up ritual after breakfast borders on the absurd.
I am a fairly organized and calm person in the kitchen (it’s usually my happy place) - I clean up as I go and try to have a decent mise-en-place to avoid last-minute chaos. But man, my pots and pans take on patina, for sure, and when a meal starts coming together, things can get a bit crazy (in a good way…that’s what wine is for!). Which I love. So, I am not up to my BIL’s standards. Are there are special-occasion-y dishes that anyone could share that minimize kitchen messes? For example, I was thinking about Smitten Kitchen’s mushroom marsala pasta bake, which we love, but only because I saute and bake the hell out of it in my Le Creuset to form that beautiful crust (which would probably give BIL a heart attack if he saw the pan). Dishes like that are decidedly a “no.”
Many thanks for any suggestions.