It's Show Time
The next morning I awoke way before my alarm, got dressed then ran to the kitchen to begin cooking. The roast had been in the oven since last night and I knew by the way the whole house was smelling that it would be ready within a few hours.
I grabbed the chopped apples and began making the filling. Once they were cooked down and soft, I butterflied each porkchop then filled them with the stuffing, securing them with toothpicks to prevent the contents from seeping out during grilling.
Once they were assembled and prepared, I grabbed the green beans and potatoes and placed them in separate pans and turned on the stove top. I added some red wine and shallots to the beans, white wine and garlic to the potatoes and let them each cook on high until they were soft. Turning down the heat, I then added some bone broth to the beans and a parmesan aioli to the potatoes. The risotto needed to be fixed at the last minute but I cut up the mushrooms for when it was time.
I took the chicken breasts out the fridge and pounded them out into a thin layer, then covered it with spinach and the fresh mozzarella that Colin sliced up last night. Once everything was evenly distributed, I carefully rolled the chicken and secured it with toothpicks, then placed them into a pan of olive oil and minced garlic to give it a nice brown edge, then placed it into the oven to continue cooking.
Two hours after I started, Colin came bursting into the kitchen, sliding his shirt over his sculpted abs and brushing through his hair with his fingers.
"What time is it? Why didn't you wake me up?" He asked with a frantic look on his face.
"Relax, it's only 8:45 and besides you stayed up late cleaning the kitchen so I figured you needed some rest."
He walked around the kitchen counter and kissed my cheek. "What can I do?"
"The roast is ready to be taken out the oven, can you grab those mitts and take it out then place it on that wooden board?"
He nodded his head then grabbed the roast from the oven, placing it to rest on the counter. "Ok, what next?"
I had just started the risotto, which needed to be left alone for 30 minutes, so I decided this was the best time to start the porkchops.
"We have to let it rest before we cut it or the juices will run out and it will be dry. Can you grab the pan of pork chops from the fridge and follow me outside, please?"
We walked out to the patio, where the pit was preheating. I opened the lid and placed the porkchops on the top rack then closed it shut and set the timer. Opening the lid to baste with apple juice, I carefully flipped each one and replaced the lid and set the timer again. 10 minutes later I repeated the basting but left them in place for a few more minutes.
Once they reached the perfect temperature, I removed them and returned to the kitchen just in time to mix the cheese into the risotto and remove the chicken from the oven. As soon as I placed the pan on the stove the door bell rang, making Colin and I jump.
"Don't worry, I'll let them in, pour them some wine and keep them occupied while you slice the roast."
I smiled and said "Thank you, Colin."
I grabbed the knife and began carving thin slices of the tender meat and placing them in an intricate pattern on the plate, then added the potatoes and a side of rosemary au jus in the center. Colin returned to the kitchen with an empty bottle of wine and grabbed two of the plates and walked into the dining room, returning a few seconds later for the other two.
I sat there nervously when he came back in crossing his fingers. We both waited anxiously as the chatter stopped and the sound of silverware clanked against the plates echoing throughout the room. One by one, moans of satisfaction left their lips but I wasn't convinced that this was it. It was lacking that specific response that every chef dreams of. I looked at Colin, who was grinning from ear to ear, smiled politely then started plating the porkchops.
I adorned each plate with a decorative apple rose, then added the green beans and glaze. A bell rang and Colin went into the dining room to collect the dirty dishes. He grabbed the porkchops and once again disappeared into the room, returning to grab the other two. When he came back in, I closed my eyes and waited. Again we heard forks scraping across the ceramic and more joyful sounds coming from their mouths, but again I didn't get the feeling that this was the right dish either.
I was beginning to regret this whole thing when the sound of a bell ringing brought me out of my daydream and up to present the last dish. I cut each chicken breast into 6 rolls and placed three each on a plate over the risotto then garnished it with fresh parsley.
Colin returned with the dirty plates and immediately grabbed a second bottle of wine to refill their glasses while I put the finishing touches on the last plate. When he came back in he had a smile on his face as he grabbed two of them and brought them to the table. He came back for the other two then scurried back to the kitchen for the response.
I held my breath as I heard the silverware clinking against the plate, then nothing, there was absolutely no noise coming from the women. I sat their with wide eyes as the silence from the other room filled my heart with warmth. They were speechless and they were utterly pleased. This was it, this was what I was going to make for the cook-off.
Colin looked at me with a confused expression and said "Is silence a good thing?"
I nodded my head and jumped up, silently screaming and dancing around when he stood up and bounced around the kitchen with me. He grabbed me and spun me around when the sound of someone clearing their throat caused us to break apart. I turned my head to see Colin's sister walking towards me with an unreadable expression.
"You must be Brittany. I just wanted to come in and personally thank you for hosting my guests and I at such short notice. Although, none of us complained one bit. You've got a real talent and any one of those dishes is sure to turn heads but that last one...you've got a winner there."
She stuck out her hand and I extended mine, giving her a nervous shake and said "Thank you so much Mrs. Henderson. I appreciate your opinion and please if there is ever anything I can do to repay you, don't hesitate to ask."
"Please call me Victoria, and don't worry I will."
She kissed Colin on the cheek and returned to the dining room.
"I'll walk them out then we can clean up and afterwards you get some rest because I'm taking you out to celebrate tonight."
He winked then escorted the women to their cars before he returned to the kitchen to help me with the tremendous mess. We spent the next two hours cleaning up then he went home to get ready while I laid down for a quick nap. He told me I could pick the place and I could only think of one that I had been dying to try since I moved here 4 years ago.
My alarm blared in my ears and I sat up with a smile on my face. Tonight would be Colin and I's first romantic date and celebration. I couldn't begin to repay him for pushing me and if it weren't for his help I never would have done something like this. He may seem shifty sometimes but then again I may be the one causing it since I refused to talk about where things were going with us.
After raiding Tara's closet, I found a short, purple one sleeve dress with a ruffle and grabbed a pair of nude pumps. I ran to the shower and quickly washed my hair and body then jumped out and ran back to her bedroom, plopping myself down in front of her mirror to fix myself up.
I had just finished getting dressed and pinning my hair back when Colin knocked on the front door. I walked to it, butterflies swimming in my belly, and opened it slowly anxious for his reaction.
"Wow, Britt, you look amazing." He said as he looked me up and down then kissed my cheek.
His response was a little less than I was expecting, in fact it felt a little forced but I brushed it off thinking maybe he was tired from today.
"Thank you." I said as we walked out the door, closing and locking behind me.
"So where did you want to go?"
"The new Italian restaurant, Cappelli's."
He nodded his head as we got into his truck. We sat in silence the whole way there and even while the truck was being parked by the valet.
"Have you eaten here before?" I asked to break the quiet that was floating between us.
"No, but my sister said it's pretty good."
He got his ticket and opened the door for me. We didn't have to wait, as he used his name to get us a table quickly, and when we were seated in a private booth he tipped the hostess very generously.
"I just wanted to say thank you again for everything today, Colin. If you hadn't encouraged me I never would have pushed myself to create such daring meals."
"Britt, you are a great chef and I have no doubt you will ace that final. I just wish you had more confidence in yourself."
He smiled making me feel a lot better about the evening but in the back of my mind I couldn't help think about Ethan and I wondered if my apprehension with Colin had something to do with the fact that maybe it was him I truly wanted to be here with.
Who didn't think Britt would rock that brunch? I mean she never believes in herself.
Why is Colin acting so strange? Is it maybe because he thinks things aren't going well in paradise or that he is wasting his time while Britt strings him along?
Now she's thinking about Ethan, girl make up your mind!