poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Sunday Night Dinners: A New Tradition

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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.

Caprese Salad: visually and gastronomically tasty!

Caprese Salad: visually and gastronomically tasty!

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.

Lemon spaghetti with grilled baby asparagus.

Lemon spaghetti with grilled baby asparagus.

Shrimp fra diavolo. So good, and really easy too!

Shrimp fra diavolo. So good, and really easy too!

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?

Nectarine, peach, and strawberries, served in my recently acquired half-martini glasses. Ooh la la!

Nectarine, peach, and strawberries, served in my recently acquired half-martini glasses. Ooh la la!

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.

A very distinctive bottle for a very distinctive wine.

A very distinctive bottle for a very distinctive wine.

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!!)

Working for their dinner.

Working for their dinner.

Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Night Dinners: A New Tradition

  1. Ah, well done Jen! Makes me miss being near you. Mainly for the delicious meals! 🙂 How come you never cooked three course meals when you lived with me? Although I do remember a distinctively delicious birthday dinner for Dr. EJF…

    • Ha! I had to step up my game once I moved to the Bay Area. Maybe I’ll make something delicious for you next week… or, you can visit me and I’ll definitely make you a 3-course meal!!

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