Friday, June 20, 2008

SUMMER DINNER WITH FRIENDSWe are planning to have friends over tonight for a casual summer dinner. I just love the laid back vibe of summer. Light, easy meals made with fresh seasonal vegetables. Children playing into the twilight, catching fireflies, playing with sparklers, running through sprinklers. I wish I could feel this at ease all through the year. But then, I suppose, summer wouldn't feel so special, would it?

The Menu: Inspired by The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas and Susan's Food lists, I am focusing the meal on simple, satisfying, summer foods made from as many fresh, local ingredients as possible.

Spaghetti (always a husband and child-friendly meal!) with a just-made sauce of local tomatoes, fresh basil, whole cloves of garlic, and good olive oil. A hunk of parmesan and grater go straight to the table.

A country loaf, from the bakery

Wine, from the local winery

Greek salad with black olives and feta, with a light olive oil dressing

For dessert. Vanilla Bean ice cream with a Belgian Butter Crisp Cookie, and Bing Cherries (sauteed in butter, dark brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar) spooned on top.

Simple. Local. And (hopefully!) a crowd pleaser!

The Guest List:
Whoever we should happen to cross paths with today. I love finding our guests as the day goes on. Which tired mom would love an unexpected break from cooking? Perhaps I will run into a long lost friend at the grocery store. Or maybe Matt will talk to someone who has no plans for the week-end. That is one reason I like to make meals that I can stretch easily. It won't be any problem to adjust the amount of salad I make and pasta I cook, depending on the number of people that show up. It is always fun to reconnect with Matt at the end of the day, and see who we both have invited over. It never fails to be an interesting, eclectic group of people.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful meal. Some of my favorite times have been when we 'out of the blue' invite friends home from church for a tasty (simple) meal. Which reminds me, I need to do that again soon.....!

  2. I love your guest list idea! Such a "surprise" to look forward to. May have to steal that one for the future.

  3. Guest list? Me, me! Invite me! :-) This all sounds like so much fun, and doesn't that table looks inviting.

    Nice post, Laurel! I love your spirit.


  4. Anonymous1:23 PM

    Pretty table and so patriotic! Mama

  5. Anonymous2:46 PM

    You are SO much fun!

  6. This sounds like such a fun idea! Your table setting looks pretty.

  7. can you run into me? I am a tired mom! :) Fabulous menu and fabulous plan...can't wait to hear about who showed up!

  8. Hi Laurel - How did you dinner turn out? Did you have surprise guests?

    Menu looks delic. I love the meals that you can "stretch" - not all meals can you do that with!


  9. As usual, I'm inspired.

  10. Laurel,
    I would love to come to your home!!! It sounds divine. (seriously.)
    I love how you figure out the Guest list. We went to a friend's house last night...cookout, fireflies the whole bit. It was so fun and so nice to be invited. I find I am the one who mostly is inviting people over, so it is nice to not cook and host! So find that mom who is always hosting and invite her over....she will appreciate it!!

  11. Laurel, great idea to have expandable foods and invite people over. I would like to improve in this area, but we have a little disadvantage in this area as the "Northerners" like their dates, schedules, and rarely anything spontaneous. Maybe it'll just start with me, though and give them an idea of what Southern Hospitality looks like. I want to be like you-oo-oo, I want to walk like you, talk like you too-oo-oo....Yeah...the Jungle Book...:)