Dinner guests who visit the house often have some form of dietary restriction: carb-, gluten-, grain-, or sugar-free, vegetarian, vegan, flextarian, only white-meat chicken-eater, allergies (shellfish, nuts, dairy), etc. You know what I'm talking about. I understand. Am a selective eater myself. [Ed. note: Run away run away run away do not comment I want to live...]
However, this summer has been about streamlining, making things as easy as possible. This dinner is the perfect solution. Have to give props to the BF, who suggested that kebabs would be a good accompaniment. [Ed. note: I can't help myself. I like good food, ok?]
This is especially effective for a dinner-party menu. Serve your favorite hummus for appetizers, follow up with two entrees: Roasted Harissa Spiced Ratatouille and Chicken Kebabs. The ratatouille will satiate the vegan guest and be a nice side dish for the carnivores. FYI, this dish is gluten free, grain free, Paleo and vegan.
Have been on a harissa kick lately, adding it to shrimp skewers, lamb patties, and roasted Japanese eggplant. Harissa is a spicy aromatic North African chili paste made out of hot chili peppers (which are often smoked), roasted red bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway and mint. It comes in sauce form or paste, as you can see in photo below. I used a mild harissa sauce for this dish, but next time might opt for the paste, which is spicier and more concentrated.
Adapted from: Gourmande in the Kitchen
Number of servings: 4-6
Give me nothing but eggplants and tomatoes until summer ends! This meal embodies everything I love about summer produce. Minimal prep and cooking, with exploding flavors. The BF loved it with saffron rice as a complimentary side dish.
Today, we honor both our mom's birthdays (his was the 3rd, mine the 4th), and this weekend we celebrate Marlowe's recovery from cancer surgery. Life is good.
Adapted from: Feasting at Home
Number of Servings: 2-3
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
Gremolata (Zesty Italian Herb Sauce)
Yotam Ottolenghi says of this eggplant dish, "I can't think of a more rustically elegant (is that a contradiction in terms?) starter." Contradiction? Hardly.
Ottolenghi is an Israeli-Italian chef residing in London, with a flavor palette that's out of this world. This recipe is adapted from his 2010 cookbook Plenty, and I selected it for today's post because of its gloriously gorgeous colorful presentation, not to mention it's delicious and a perfect easy-to-make dish for your holiday table (or anytime). I prepared it for an anniversary dinner party, not as a starter, but as a side dish with grilled lamb chops and naan--it was heavenly.
Another advantage for a dinner party: it can be served at room temperature, meaning it's easier to make ahead of time.
Adapted from: Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
Number of servings: 4 as a starter or side dish
Writer Julian Barnes said of mourning, "The thing is—nature is so exact, it hurts exactly as much as it is worth, so in a way, one relishes the pain, I think. If it didn't matter, it wouldn't matter."
A friend sent this line in a condolence letter when my momala passed away, and it has resonated ever since. The grieving is commensurate with the loving, a testament to what’s missing.
This has been a particularly difficult year for my boyfriend (the blog's man behind the curtain, the one behind the editorial notes), who is grieving the passing of his mom, and today is actually the one-year anniversary.
Kathryn Bailey was an accomplished jazz pianist based in the San Francisco bay area, who accompanied everyone from Billie Holiday to the Buddy Morrow Orchestra, Berkeley's Straw Hat Theatre, and Ronnie Cass.
We miss you everyday, Kathy.
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.