I know that I am not alone in thinking: How is it that summer is nearly over? Seriously, this summer has flown by. I know that we traveled to California and New York but other than that, I am having troubles remembering where the days went. One of my most favourite things to do is to host dinner parties, particularly when the weather is warm and we can have dinner on the deck. This summer we have had all of ONE dinner on the deck with friends. How pathetic!
On a balmy August evening, we had Sarah and Kevin over for dinner. We have dinner parties with these two all of the time, alternating between our houses. Because of this, it’s sometimes hard to come up with something creative to make. Especially when it’s hot and humid and the last thing that you feel like doing is cooking over a hot stove. For this evening, we opted to go with more nibbles than a full meal. I liked the idea of eating a bunch of different things that we love.
We started with a couple of boards of goodness: cheese, olives, nuts, marinated artichokes and prosciutto. When we were in San Francisco in June, we went to a couple of wineries in Sonoma. At one of them, we had cheese with the wine pairings and one of those cheeses was Espresso Bellavitano. It was such a dreamy cheese that I emailed the company when I got home to see where I could buy it in Toronto. Guess what? It’s available at select Loblaws. How convenient! We snagged some of this dream cheese for our dinner that night and it was as good as I remember on that wine-filled day in sunny California.
Josh made us a round of Jack Rose cocktails. It’s a cocktail made with Applejack which is a spirit that we cannot get in Ontario but on our recent trip to New York, Josh picked up a bottle so he was finally able to make this cocktail for us at home. It’s a simple drink with just Applejack, Grenadine and lime juice but man alive, it’s great.
For our actual meal we had a green salad, flatbread and baby potatoes. Very simple food but ingredients that we love.
The pesto potatoes were probably my favourite. I took the recipe from Canadian Living’s July 2014 issue which for some reason I cannot find online. I just boiled the baby potatoes. Then in my Magic Bullet I blended basil (fresh from our deck!), walnuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil.
We cheated and bought the flatbread but I swear that I will make it myself next time because it was a little bland. We brushed it with lots of EVOO and topped with portobello mushrooms, goat cheese and rosemary (again grown on our deck!). The green salad was simple and healthy with spinach, arugula, red onion & peppers plus toasted slivered almonds.
I had great ambitions of making a cake for dinner but have been trying to cut out sweets and sugar from my diet. Trying to. So instead of an extravagant dessert, we finished up the evening with a big bowl of cherries and L’Amourette chocolate brought back from San Francisco – Dark chocolate with figs. I love the adorable packaging. And I almost enjoyed eating these more than I would have had it been something more sinful.
There is just something so lovely about sitting around a table with good friends chatting the night away as the sun sets and the candles get lit. These are my favourite kind of evenings. I hope that we can squeeze in a couple more before those leaves start turning colour.