Sunday Stories…Cooking for Friends

Sunday Stories…Cooking for Friends
I love to cook and I really love to entertain at home.  For me the whole process is relaxing and fun, and a nice break from working all week. I always start in the morning with a cup of coffee and a browse through my cookbooks to get inspired.  It’s all about the photos!  That’s why you’ll find our shops stocked with the most beautiful cookbooks, they are some of my favorite things to buy for the shops.  

These are two of my favorites, Plenty is my very favorite cookbook of all time, and The Forest Feast Mediterranean is a new favorite.  I should mention that when we entertain at home I handle the apps, salads and sides, and Will is in charge of the grill, which I think is a special talent I could never master, but he’s just excellent. 

Plenty is all vegetables, and FYI, the recipes can be a little more complicated.  There can be lots of steps, and lots of obscure middle eastern spices you’ll have to seek out, but the finished result is always delicious. 

The Forest Feast Mediterranean is the opposite!  Super easy recipes, and it’s one of the prettiest cookbooks I’ve ever seen.  The illustrations and photos really take you right to Italy, Spain, Portugal and France, where the author spent three months traveling and gathering inspiration for the book.

Let’s start with Plenty.  Having said this is a more difficult cookbook, this recipe is one of the easier ones.  I will admit, this one calls for hazelnuts and hazelnut oil, and I went searching through 3 grocery stores and could not find them, so I gave up and used pistachios and olive oil instead, and it came out great. 

Ingredients…7 small zucchini, 1/3 cup pistachios, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, handful of basil leaves, some good parmesan thinly sliced, salt and pepper. (I added some arugula to make this more of a hearty salad)

You toss the zucchini in olive oil, salt and pepper, then grill it a couple of minutes on each side, pop into a bowl and give it a splash of balsamic vinegar, set aside.  Then put your basil and some arugula into your salad bowl, toss with some olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.  Add the grilled zucchini on top, then pistachios.  Toss some good parmesan over it, and drizzle with a little more olive oil and balsamic, so good.

Next up…Forest Feast
This recipe is so easy it just seems like there’s no way it’s going to be as delicious as it comes out.  I’m not kidding, it takes all of 10 minutes and 5 ingredients.

Ready? 

1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets.  A package of Gnocci, a cup of grated parmesan cheese, 2 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp butter, salt and pepper. 

In a large pot of water boil the cauliflower for 3 minutes, then throw in the gnocchi and cook until it floats, about another 3 minutes.  Turn the burner off, strain it all, then throw it back into the pot with the olive oil, butter, cheese, salt and pepper, and stir till combined.  Pop it into a casserole dish and then in the oven under the broiler for 3 minutes, and you’re done. 

I swear it tastes like you slaved over this dish all day, so decadent and delicious, this is a new go to for me!

For this dinner Will grilled some Italian Sausages, both sweet and hot, and simple chicken skewers.  

No gathering at our house is complete without s’mores by the fire pit.  I’m looking forward to lots more of these nights this summer.

I hope you enjoyed this Sunday Story.  Let me know what else you’d like to see here, last week you gave me some great ideas.
Happy Sunday Everyone!

Lori