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Break the rules with Greek Vegetable Soup
Desperation Dinners
By Alicia Ross with Beverly Mills | Columnists
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Published: 9/8/2010 12:00 AM

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Rule No. 1 when cooking for guests: Don't try a new recipe for the first time; always test it out. I know this rule. I've recited it to thousands of people since 1999, when I toured the country promoting our cookbook "Desperation Entertaining!" and to anyone else who would listen in the meantime. But a few weeks ago, I broke the rule and tried a recipe on some people who were coming over for lunch.

These were all acquaintances from church but not good friends, so as the time approached, I started to get nervous about cooking. As they arrived, I was freaking out, lecturing myself on my big, huge, can't-be-fixed-now mistake. As we sat down to lunch, I started with our tried-and-true Greek Salad (see KitchenScoop.com for the recipe) and some yummy bread. Everyone seemed to dig the salad and bread, and I found myself praying for a miracle that if the soup didn't fly, the salad and bread would multiply by biblical proportions, sort of like the loaves and fishes.

As added backup, while I served up the soup, I started to explain how reading about Greek vegetable soups had inspired me and how I wanted to try a Desperation version. I went on to explain how I needed their help in testing this recipe, and their opinion would be invaluable to my creative process. I know I was laying it on thick, but I was trying to cover all my bases.

But there was no need. The soup was a gigantic hit, with almost everyone going back for seconds. The name in Greek is pronounced BOO-roo BOO-roo. And maybe the prayers worked, because it definitely wasn't a BOO-hoo, BOO-hoo lunch.

So this is my new favorite lunch menu, and until I decide to break any more entertaining rules, it will do just fine. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Suggested menu: Desperation Greek Salad with Greek Vegetable Soup and crusty bread.

• Write to Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at Desperation Dinners, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016. More at kitchenscoop.com.