Don't tell my friends, at least not the ones from last Saturday, but bruschetta has to be the easiest, least costly way to start an event that I know. Use whatever you have for toppings. That's hummus on the left – homemade from an Ina Garten recipe, but store bought is good too. You can even use stale bread (I didn't). Who would know once it's toasted?!
Two brilliant ideas from my stepdaughter upped the game. We steeped 1/2 a cup olive oil with a few rosemary sprigs and a couple garlic cloves for the bread. Then she toasted the slices on the grill. Good for croutons too!
Chopped tomatoes, basil, a drizzle of oil, salt & pepper
Olive oil for the pan, 3-4 chopped shallots, optional chopped garlic clove, sliced or chopped mushrooms, salt & pepper, shaved Parmesan & chives. Soften the shallots over medium heat first. Cook the mushrooms until liquid disappears. Assemble.
**note: I use cayenne instead of hot sauce and halve the recipe unless it's a big crowd of hummus eaters.
Anyone can make this, especially when your child asks for the oh so trendy avocado toast and you only have the toast. Works 24/7.
Tomatoes, handful, halved
Goat cheese or other
Dill or fave fresh herb (chive!) or both
Toast (no avocado)
Medium heat, non stick pan. Melt a good amount of butter. Lower heat. Crack eggs and flip when they're cooked through. Crumble cheese on top-any amount. Plate in a minute. Raise heat, cook tomatoes 1-2 minutes while toasting bread. Herbs, salt, pepper.
As promised … Pasta with vodka sauce. Not penne. Blame Trader Joe's, I do. Plenty of rice and gluten free options. Am I now a minority? So linguine stepped in and twirled its way round our hearts. Two kids took home leftovers, an endorsement if ever there was one. Any way you toss it, Ina did a great job with the recipe. I lightened the load a bit on the hot pepper flakes. I also think it covers more than a pound of pasta.
Click here for the recipe.
Mangia – B
Note: obviously can be gluten free. Just ask Trader Joe's.
After asking 5 children 16 to 26 for their thoughts on dinner, I got chicken. And so did they. Doubling the recipe took a little extra time, but chicken piccata is a great weeknight option. I also only used one pan, cooking the chicken in batches and keeping it warm in the oven. At the end I threw it all back in the sauce with no one the wiser. No pressure, but I served it with pasta in vodka sauce. Recipe to come.
Click here for the chicken recipe, courtesy of Epicuriois.
Eat – B
Three ingredients (plus salt) never tasted so good. It must be the upcoming St. Patrick's Day that made me want to dump this lot on a plate of mashed potatoes. Not that Brussel sprouts cooked in pancetta come close to that Irish cabbage and potato delicacy. And bite my tongue but I loaded my mashed potatoes with English butter. Still, it's comforting to spoon this dish down at winter's end with bathing suit season not even a squint away. Also, local purveyor Trader Joe's, you have redeemed yourself from last week's suddenly expiring produce! xo
4 oz chopped pancetta
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 bag shredded Trader Joe's Brussels sprouts
In medium heavy skillet over mid low heat, render the pancetta. I like mine a little crispy. 10 minutes. Add onion and a little salt, cook 5 minutes. Add sprouts, cooking until tender, 5-8 minutes. Be generous with the salt and pepper. If food sticks, deglaze with a tablespoon or two of water. Serve alone or ladled over mashed potatoes.
Eat – B