Bonding Over a Bite
A few months ago, my neighbor Tricia and I inadvertently started a Tuesday night supper club. Our first Tuesday night was on Valentine’s night... both of our husbands were working, so I invited Tricia over to watch the premiere of Cougar Town and spend the evening not by ourselves.
So the story goes – “Picture it, Valentine’s night 2012 – both Tricia’s husband and mine are working, leaving us alone on the most romantic night of the year. What to do - what to do? Sit at home alone feeling sorry for myself, or... invite my neighbor over to watch TV and have a little party.” (Okay, so I was channeling Sofia from the Golden Girls)
I’m so glad I made the right decision! We had a blast! We ate, we laughed, and we got to know each other a little better. I worked all day making a feast for us... bruschetta, goat cheese and fig pastries, pate and lingenberry jelly and of course, I chilled some Champagne. Whether our husbands were there or not, you have to have Champagne on Valentine’s Day! We were lucky, my friend Aimee joined us as well and she added to the flavor of the evening.
So back to the Supper Club... as we were cleaning up, Tricia suggested “we should do this again next week!” Well, that was all it took, and now our get-togethers are one of the highlights of my week. Our dinners have evolved from just me cooking to a collaboration between Tricia and I. Each Tuesday, we either cook together or take turns making dinner. We start the day with Tricia and I texting back and forth deciding on what to have for dinner that night. I have to mention that one week Tricia made this amazing crock-pot beef and peppers dish that we served on fancy buns... They were fabulous – spicy and quite tasty. I had never had them before, slow-cooked chuck roast with a jar of pepperoncini peppers. WOW! Me, I usually make something that I want to feature in my blog (like my Amatriciana pasta), or a recipe that I want to try out, or a family recipe that I want to show off to Tricia.
This week’s supper club was extra delicious. As usual, Tricia texted me in the morning inquiring about what should we do for dinner? Since she had mentioned earlier that she wanted to do a burger night, I simply replied Burgers... (Luckily, I had a pound of ground sirloin in the fridge). That simple word “burger ” was a big hit, Tricia replied back, “you take care of the patties - I’ve got the rest!” She sure did take care of the rest, pow! T went all out, making one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen... a burger toppings bar! Fresh crisp iceberg, sweet sliced tomatoes and onions, she even hand sliced the pickles! In addition to the fresh veggie choices, we also had sautéed onions and mushrooms, cooked bacon, two variety of cheeses and fancy buns. There wasn’t a burger that we couldn’t make with her abundantly wonderful toppings bar. Me- I made one of my favorite burgers – Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed onions and a little A-1. Only one word can describe my ethereal meal... Burger-licious!
She also brought a zesty pasta salad that she had made the night before. It was a penne salad with herbed feta, pretty little cherry tomatoes and Italian dressing. The vividness of the Italian herbs with the tanginess of the feta was a perfect combination. If I were Italian, I might say... “Molto Bella”!
My contribution to the meal was the patties... recently I had seen an episode of the Food Network show Meat Men about mixing the ideal hamburger. The star, Pat LaFreida talked about combining different beef together for a flavorful patty. LaFreida explained a great hamburger has to have the exact ratio of fat and muscle for good flavor and texture. I had a pound of ground sirloin and while I was at Publix, I picked up ¾ lb. ground chuck. Mixing the two together, along with a sprinkling of garlic powder, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire, I got the combination right. They were juicy and really flavorful. The perfect base for Tricia’s toppings bar.
Feeling a little bad that Tricia was making almost the entire meal after working all day long, I wanted to make a surprise dessert. Looking in the pantry for what I could make, I decided on my Mama’s Cup a – Cup a – Cup a Peach Cobbler. It’s so simple; 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of baking powder, along with 4 tablespoons of melted butter and one 15 oz. can of sliced peaches in heavy syrup. Directions: preheat oven 375°, melt butter in 9 x 13 casserole dish, mix flour, sugar, milk and baking powder, and pour in dish. Add canned peaches with syrup and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and bubbling brown. If it sounds familiar, Dolly Parton’s character Truvy in Steel Magnolias shares that same recipe with the girls in the salon. I’m sorry, there isn’t a photo of this dessert - we ate it all up before I could take the picture. It’s so good, I’ll make it again and share soon.
Our Supper Club nights aren’t exclusive girls’ night in... Normally, my husband joins us and enjoys helping with the preparations. This week, we were lucky that Niles, Tricia’s husband had the night off and could join in the fun too. We had a great night – good food, and great conversations.
I highly suggest that you start your own night of cooking and camaraderie: it’s a supremely delicious evening!
Until then... Good Cooking!