I love cooking but I hate cooking for myself. That’s why I recently decided to start having mini-dinner parties about once a month. For my first “Sunday Night Dinner,” I had M & K over, my Rivoli dining companions.
We were experiencing very warm temperatures in Berkeley, so I opted for a light, summery menu. (Translation: as little stove/actual cooking time as possible!) As I had never prepared a 3-course meal before, I also wanted to keep it simple. I knew I could rely on my favorite cookbook author, Giada De Laurentiis, for simple and delicious dishes. All of the recipes that I chose were from Giada’s Everyday Italian cookbook, some of which can also be found on the Food Network website.
To start, I made Caprese salad. The organic heirloom tomatoes were what really made this dish stand out. It was very good but next time, I will add some balsamic vinegar, to add a bit more flavor.
For the main course, I had intended on making pasta with what I thought would be a light shrimp tomato sauce. However, the light tomato sauce ended up being more like a soup (almost like cioppino). So I ended up serving the components of the main course separately.
Keeping with the summery theme, I prepared a seasonal fruit salad with a twist: following Giada’s recipe, I poured a white wine reduction, with sugar and mint added, over the chopped fruit. I made a very similar fruit salad for a potluck last week and I’ve renamed it, “Fancy boozy fruit salad.” I think it makes it more fun, don’t you?
Of course, what would a fancy dinner be without wine? M & K didn’t disappoint with a lovely bottle of rosé from Chateau Saint Pierre. As usual, I neglected to remember to take a photo of the wine until the bottle was empty.
All in all, a very successful and yummy dinner. The thing that made my meal complete, however, was the fact that my guests volunteered to do the dishes. (Honestly, they volunteered! I didn’t make them!!)