Let’s hear it for Date Night!
I was recently approached by a young professional who said, “I’m past due for Date Night; I’d like to bring my wife to one of your cooking parties.”
He planned the evening as a surprise, invited another couple to join them, and didn’t tell anyone where they were going.
They showed up hungry, as instructed, and we got acquainted over Brown Bread with Dates & Raisins and Sparkling Cider. Everyone participated: whipped the cream, chopped the fruits and vegetables and even cooked the broccoli/pepper/jicama side dish. Whoever was on the other side of the counter got to supervise: checking instructions, verifying ingredient amounts and monitoring cooking times.
As the mother of sons and wife of someone who considers himself “strictly a consumer” when it comes to food, it was fun to have two guys volunteer to work in the kitchen. (The wives snapped pictures to have a permanent record.)
Besides the veggie side dish, we made Chicken Saltimbocca, Fruit & Veggie Pasta Salad and Lemon Ice Cream for dessert. Rosemary Bread was baked earlier in the day.
We all sat down to eat, talk and laugh like old friends and it was 9:30 before we knew it.
It was all about what they wanted to celebrate, but it turned out to be Date Night for us, too. What do you want to celebrate?
Your friend in the kitchen,
At a recent Make-a-Memory Cooking Party, we celebrated a mother’s birthday. Her grown daughters planned it as a surprise – a cooking class followed by a special lunch. This is a woman who has always cooked from scratch and has spent a lot of time in the kitchen. The daughters’ one requirement was that I fix dishes their Mom had never prepared. It was fun to plan her surprise cooking class and lunch.
One of the things I did was make homemade salad dressing for a very simple four-ingredient salad. It was a hit!
Here’s the recipe with some easy tips included: Don’t let the long list of ingredients throw you – it goes together easily and is truly worth the effort!
1 head Romaine lettuce
1/2 bunch spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup croutons
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (TIP: If you have more lemon juice than vinegar, reverse the amounts; no problem)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice (TIP: can be fresh or bottled)
1 clove garlic, minced (TIP: ok to use 1/8 teaspoon dried garlic instead (spice dept of grocery store, labeled as minced garlic)
2 teaspoons minced fresh chives (TIP: ok to use tops of green onions)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. (TIP: I put plastic wrap between the jar and the lid to prevent any leakage.)
Shake well and refrigerate.
Shake again and add dressing to salad ingredients just before serving.
This recipe serves 6-8. For a smaller salad, prepare fewer greens, add less cheese and fewer croutons. Add a small amount of dressing, toss and taste, until you have as much as you desire. Keep unused portion in the fridge and use again later. Just shake it well and label.
Your friend in the kitchen!