I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as much as I like dining out and trying new restaurants, there is something to be said for a nice, relaxing dinner at home. And over the past couple weeks, we’ve been able to enjoy this both away and at home. We were lucky enough to garner an invitation to our friends for dinner one cold Saturday night…why lucky you might ask? Well, besides the fact that they are wonderful, fun, foodie friends, we also walked into their house greeted by these images below.
Needless to say, Adam and I knew we were in for a very special evening. The theme…mushrooms! Starting with the most delicious and mushroomy (in the best way possible) soup. Perfect for homemade bread dipping! Followed by pasta and homemade pie and ice cream for dessert. A wonderful night. Maybe if we all ask, we can get the recipe for that amazing soup?
Dinner party #2 at our humble abode began with a lovely bottle of white wine, courtesy of our food loving friends. This wine went fantastically with the carrot miso soup we started things off with. It was a hit at a previous party and went over very well again. So easy and so flavorful.
The main course was a tofu dish I think could convert any tofu hater out there. Marinated, panko breaded and pan-fried, and served with a roasted red pepper walnut sauce…if this was chicken I know you’d all be drooling!
I only made minor changes to this recipe….I used balsamic vinegar in place of the white wine and used dried herbs in place of fresh (because that was what I had on hand).
This sauce would also be delicious as a dip or sandwich spread. Along with roasted brussels sprouts (little did I know, these were my guests fave veg), I made one of my favorite grain salad recipes. Delicious as a vegetarian main, side for any protein, and good packed lunch…it is so beautiful, colorful, and delectable.
Colorful Quinoa Salad (Adapted from The Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz)
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
handful parsley, finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1-2 zucchini, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 cup apricots, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, diced
1/2 cup raisins, diced
1/2 cup prunes, diced
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp water
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Bring broth and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Let cool and then add chickpeas, parsley, red pepper, zucchini, onion, and dried fruit. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over quinoa and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
This makes ALOT so be prepared to have some quinoa lunches in your future! No dinner party is complete without dessert and being inspired by my friends delicious strawberry ice cream, I decided to break out my ice cream maker yet again and try out a David Lebovitz recipe from a cookbook my foodie soul-mate gifted to me.
Pistachio and Dried Apricot Ice Cream (Adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop)
3/4 cup dried apricots, quartered
2/4 cup white wine
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup 2% milk
1 cup half and half
few drops lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped pistachios
Simmer the apricots and white wine for about 5 minutes and let stand for an hour. Mix together all ingredients except pistachios and blend in food processor until smooth. Freeze according to ice cream makers instruction, adding the pistachios in the last couple minutes.
I think that homemade ice cream is one of those deceivingly difficult and impressive desserts…but really is so easy to do. And honestly, with all the fresh and natural ingredients, tastes so much better than the usual Turkey Hill or Eddy’s that somehow always seems to find a way into my shopping cart and freezer…don’t know how that happens??
Two fun dinners with four very fun friends! Oh, I almost forgot….Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!