We love to entertain out on the porch and tend to do it on the fly. Our guests don't quite drop in but often I don't have as much time to plan and cook as I like. The other weekend was the perfect example of how I managed to serve up a good meal without going nuts.
I found out my daughter was coming over for dinner Saturday night and friends Sunday. What to do?
First, I tripled my dinner ingredient list so I could use the same ingredients for two separate dinners, one hot, one cold.
Off to the farmers' market, I went to get ManO his favorite of all veggies, beets. But there was a problem. After two and a half decades, my daughter hasn't forgiven me for making her sit in front of a beet for two hours until she ate it. The threat was losing Nickelodeon. So I picked up some carrots for her, along with salad greens, strawberries and blueberries.
|It's hard to believe I threatened this sweet face over eating a beet. Bad mama.|
Unfortunately, first thing when she saw the beets, dear daughter immediately took a picture and texted her brother, swearing I was trying to kill her yet again. I threatened no HGTV this time. She said the difference was she could now go home to her own apartment. Sigh.
I roasted the root veggies and asparagus in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Man O grilled chicken. I added some salad on the side. It was a lovely evening, topped off by strawberry shortcake.
I put the leftovers in the fridge and the next day enjoyed truly keeping Sabbath, not having to cook for my friends who happen to LOVE beets and such. Such a relaxing day.
At dinner time, I chopped up the cold grilled chicken and beets, placed them on beds of greens and asparagus.
Then I added the most delicious dressing I've made in a long time, a balsamic honey mustard. We were set for dinner. You'll note all the ingredients from the night before are present, just in different form!
Except there was an unexpected guest.
We fussed. We threw tennis balls at him. We laughed a lot. But we didn't get too close. He decided that three inches of birdseed before he headed off to parts unknown. And the strange thing is he hasn't been back. It was like he was our evening entertainment for one night and one night only.
So what about you? What is the best meal you put together for unexpected guests? Do you like to double up cooking in the summer so the kitchen doesn't heat up? Do you hate beets? And what about those rascally raccoons?
Balsamic Honey Mustard Dressing
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or less)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
Optional: minced garlic to taste
Blend ingredients with an immersion blender, blender or processor to make a thick dressing. Serve over veggies, salad or meat.