I wanted to spend more time with friends but let’s face it, the work day is long and by the time I get home all I want to do is relax and recoup. I finally decided to stop being lazy and combine my favorite things (friends, good food, laughter, and creativity). We started with a simple plan, meet one Monday each month to make a gourmet meal together. Now the challenge, finding simple and delicious recipes that did not take hours to prepare. After all, we are of an age where 9:00 seems a reasonable time to get ready for bed. Our solution was a wonderful cookbook called Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens.
Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens provides recipes that use a minimal amount of appliances, cookware and ingredients. While I don’t consider my kitchen to be little, I did want to learn how to create wonderfully simple gourmet meals that do not take a lot of time or fuss. This book delivers for me.
Each month someone hosts the dinner. The host picks the meal, purchases the ingredients and does the prep work the night before. The friends bring the beverages and dessert and arrive no later than 6:00. Cooking commences immediately on arrival and the hilarity abounds. We have prepared Barbequeless Barbequed Salmon, Hunka Hunka Monkfish (with lobster), Whats-a-Matta-You Brushetta Salad, Get Freaky Tzatsiki, Better-Than-Nookie Sweet Potato Gnocci and much, much more. We cook, we laugh and then we sit at the table and close our eyes as we savor the flavors.
We have learned how to use a freezer bag as a pastry bag, that Champagne vinegar actually exists, how to make a lemon vinaigrette, and that vinegar can actually cook the outside of fish if marinated too long. Cooking with friends is a great way to start the week. As we enjoy our meal, we always raise a glass to toast another Monday. This new tradition has transformed Mondays into a day of the week I anticipate.
If you are interested in seeing Chef Jennifer in action please visit her website.