Monday, May 2, 2011
Saturday's dinner party and menu
I had some friends over for dinner Saturday night, and I wanted to cook something (well, many things) special for them. But I also didn't want to/couldn't afford to go out and buy a bunch of stuff. So I needed to put together a fancy menu based on what I already had.
Here's what I came up with:
Morel crostini (I have a crap-ton of fresh morels in the fridge; all I needed to complete the recipe was a loaf of Italian bread and a leek)
Scallops seared on the salt block (a special request to see the salt block in action)
Linguine with Italian sausage ragu
Salad (I still have a bunch of greenery that my mom gave me from her garden last weekend, plus a jar of her homemade plum vinaigrette)
Zucchini cake with lemon glaze
Believe it or not, the only things I had to purchase for this menu were the scallops and the loaf of Italian bread and leek. I already had all the other things. (And I probably could have substituted a shallot for the leek.)
My CSA boxes provided me with salad greenery, zucchini and grapefruit; my pantry supplied me with lemons, onions, garlic, linguine, canned tomatoes, and baking stuff (flour, sugar, etc.); my freezer had Italian sausage purchased in bulk; my mom also provided me with a bag of fresh herbs, which will go into everything; and the liquor cabinet gave me the wine and Campari.
That's the beauty of a well-stocked kitchen; you can pull together any kind of meal you feel like. Simple, fancy, one person, 10 people, it doesn't matter. In fact, I normally wouldn't have bothered with purchasing the bread and the scallops--I would just rejigger the menu until I had one composed entirely of stuff I already had.
The main course, linguine with Italian sausage ragu, cost all of $1.66 per person. THAT'S the beauty of shopping in bulk. Even with the cost of the morels and scallops, the total cost was well under $5 per person. (The flowers came from my front yard, believe it or not.)
And it had been a while since I'd seen these friends. We had a great time. Isn't there some way I can just throw dinner parties for a living?