Book club was at our house last night. One of the amazing things about moving out of the apartment is that now we can actually have people over. Before? One kid in bedroom one, another in bedroom two, and the two of us trapped in the living room in the middle trying as hard as possible to make no noise. Not really conducive to dinner partying. But now - an upstairs! A downstairs! Dedicated rooms for sleeping! Other, completely unrelated rooms for eating! Amazing.
And of course, part of the excitement is the novelty. Honestly, even mowing the grass - twice so far in my life! - is a whole new kind of fun. (No, seriously, we argued over who got to do it the second time. A detente was reached when we decided to take turns.) So, yes, novelty - and perhaps one too many episodes of "Top Chef" and all the talk of plating and layering flavors. Which is not at all to say that I do that, or am good at it - but, you know, it's there, in the back of my mind as I set up the food.
So yes: last night's food. Here is some of it:
Prosciutto cups with balsamic nectarines and blueberries. A big hit, will definitely make again. (Put squares of prosciutto into muffin baking tray cups, bake at 375 for 13-15 minutes, immediate take out and drain on paper towels. Chop up peaches or nectarines, add raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, and toss with balsamic vinegar. Right before serving, scoop fruit into prosciutto cups.)
Cucumber slices two ways: 1) with hummus, purslane leaves, and heirloom grape tomatoes; and 2) with goat cheese spread and spinach leaves. Always yummy. (The goat cheese spread is killer: three parts goat cheese, one part whipped cream cheese, 1-2 tablespoons of milk, give or take to make a spreadable consistency. Add pressed garlic and tons of dill.)
And to drink - a wine punch. I'd call it sangria, but apparently real sangria has cognac in it. But this was delicious: two bottles of white zinfandel, 5 tablespoons of sugar, and diced peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, and blueberries. I'm betting any kind of fruit combo will work. The key is just to mix it and let it stand in the fridge for at least 3-4 hours.
We also had some waffle crackers with Nutella and peach sauce for dessert and some fried eggplant with pita chips and hummus. Yummy all around.