had a group of girls from our college days staying with me this past weekend-our initial itinerary was jam packed with different activities, but once we all got talking and reminiscing it was hard to stop. friday nite, we just stayed in and i cooked dinner from a sunset magazine cut out that i had been saving for a long time (um, yeah, just checked the date, it was from the sunset, september 2000 issue). it was so yummy and perfect for a group of girls. got us all energized and ready to head out for karaoke and oh yes, i sang three songs, two of which were 80s rock. seriously, i was unstoppable.
the meal consisted of gouda and chevre, rustic breads, bruschetta toppings and then just a bunch of fresh veggies, lettuce, oils, balsamics, some grilled corn, chicken and salmon which were made to individual taste into delicious salads. and the most fun part is you could pick up the whole meal (less the chicken and salmon) from one of the santa barbara’s farmers markets and other great little local shops, like santa barbara gift baskets and cest cheese.
Roasted Grapes and Onions
(put this directly on the bread or put a layer of the chevre on first if you are into that sort of delightful thing)
Makes: About 1 1/2 cups
1. Rinse and drain 3 cups stemmed red seedless grapes (about 1lb). In a 9×13 inch pan, mix grapes, with 1 cup sliced red onion and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
2. Bake in a 450 degree oven, stirring once after 2o minutes, until grapes are browned and begin to collapse, 40 to 45 minutes total (35 minutes in a convection oven). Stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and salt (to taste). Scrape into bowl and serve warm or at room temperature.
Sautéed Mushroom Mélange
(never like to admit, but I really can not coerce myself into loving mushrooms, I try and try, but this smelled amazing and all the other mushroom lovers raved about it)
Makes: About 1 1/2 cups
1. Trim and discard discolored stem ends or tough stems and any bits of debris and bruised spots from 1 pound mushrooms (chanterelle, common portabella, oyster or shitake; choose 1 or an assortment) Rinse the mushrooms well and drain; slice about 1/4 inch thick.
2. In a 10 to 12 inch frying pan over high heat, stir mushrooms, 1/3 cup chopped shallots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme until liquid is evaporated and mushrooms are well browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper (to taste).
3. Pour sautéed mushrooms into a bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature. Shortly before serving, sprinkle mushrooms with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.