Sunday always comes too soon especially after one of the most relaxing and rejuvenating weekends I've had in a long time. Two of my closest friends came to visit - we chatted, played with Lucia, drank tea, walked, cooked, ate, drank wine and overall had such lovely weekend. It makes me wish they lived so much closer but I am so grateful to have them as friends.
I was also so happy to have some time to cook. Cooking is something I've loved since I was little when I used to spend time in the kitchen with my mother stirring pancake batter, kneading dough and making special dinners like dumplings or homemade pasta. In college the margins of my notebooks were often filled with ingredient lists and dinner ideas (yes in college I actually cooked dinner for myself and my then boyfriend about 6 nights a week often following Bon Appetite recipes - fortunately he did the dishes). After college and in grad school I loved nothing more than inviting friends over for dinner and spending the week prior lost in thought on my hour long subway rides into work, mulling over recipes and menus. Unfortunately I feel like since my pregnancy (I was nauseous and exhausted for a loooong time) and then the busy-ness (yes I know that's not a word, but I'm using it anyways damn-it) that accompanied the arrival of my darling chickdee made leisurely cooking dinner with a glass of wine in hand become an absolute luxury. This weekend was the first time in many months when I was able to do that and it made me oh so happy.
So what did I cook? Since I was cooking for a veggie and a meat lover (ie Esposo) plus a baby and knowing it would be the first true fall weekend (crisp weather in the 60s) I wanted to make comfort type foods with in-season veggies that would use the oven and warm up the house. Here's what's I went with.
I had to try the Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar by Smitten Kitchen that has been making the rounds on the blogs. Seriously you have to make it, it was the perfect choice for a rainy fall day.
(via Smitten Kitchen)
- Pan-Fried Pork Chops = easy, made the meat lovers happy
- Sauteed Rainbow Swiss Chard. There is no denying it I have a love for Swiss Chard, the beautiful colors the bitter, earthy flavor. My favorite way to make it is to saute it with butter then when it starts to wilt add some garlic, a dash of salt, cover it to keep the juices in and then finish it with a squeeze of lemon.
- Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto which was a variation of Ina Garten's Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash. I eliminated the pancetta and substituted vegetable stock for the chicken stock for my veggie friend and didn't use saffron because I didn't have any. Risotto is truly a perfect food to make when close friends visit, we chat, drink wine, they help by stirring and adding the stock. The bonus was that Lucia absolutely loved the risotto, she ate every last bite. A future foodie perhaps?
(via Food Network)
- Tomato and Beet Salad with Feta and Mint. This is a really lovely summery salad. I had initally planned on making a Beet Au Gratin but then while I was at the co-op I stumbled upon these perfect local, organic multicolored cherry tomatoes. They were too lovely to pass up plus just looking at them I knew that they are only still available due to our unseasonably warm September so I knew that this would be my last chance for the taste of summer tomatoes. The tomatoes made for such a beautiful colorful salad. The salad is very simple, roast the beets, let them cool, then cut them into bite sized pieces, halve the tomatoes, throw in a bunch of chopped mint, a heavy amount of crumbled feta, season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, toss gently. See... super easy and super delish.
- Pear Galette with vanilla ice cream. So I didn't go for the "Snickers Bars", I wanted something less complicated and more seasonal. I made it easy on myself and used puff pastry instead of making my own crust, I know, I know making your own is so worth it and I usually do but I took the easy way out. Either way I basically used this recipe. It was soooo good. It tasted like fall and it was Lucia's first time ever having dessert, she was a happy little chickadee.
(via Food Network)
- Basic breakfast sandwiches. Good sourdough bread, thick-cut bacon (except for the veggie and the baby), an egg over-easy, spinach, butter and black pepper. The perfect breakfast sandwich if you ask me.
So that's it - that was my weekend. Friends and food, what could be better? How was your weekend? Cook anything yummy?