June 30, 2011

dinner scenes

Sit me at a table, surround me with food and friends and I'm a happy girl. I'm the type of person who loves the pre-party more than the actual party. I love to be surrounded by friends in a space where it is easy to talk and fun to laugh. Pre-party is really a word of the past, from those days in college when we'd all gather in one room and turn on some Justin Timberlake or 'Murder on the Dance Floor' on repeat. Those days aren't gone, but they are certainly slowing down, and it seems like the pre-party and the party have become one in the same. Dinner is the main event. The table full of food and friends and the fridge full with a few bottles of wine. People eat slowly, lingering over dishes, too busy talking to worry themselves with seconds. Then dessert and accompanying spoons arrive on the table and the cheese board is visited once again, but this time with small savory bites, eaten alone, without crackers. The conversation lingers over current happenings - in Zürich or abroad, local or political.

These dinners rarely make it to the blog. Pieces of the meals do, most frequently the desserts, since they are easy to prep ahead of time and easy to photograph. Today's photos are a little 'ode to the dinner party,' a mini dinner party that we've been having for the last four months. You see, our friend Jess moved in with us in March. We've been eating dinners, the three of us, since she arrived. She's left for the states this morning and when she returns she's moving into her own apartment (hopefully one with a big terrace) and so ends the streak of mini dinner parties. Of course she always has an invitation to dinner and I'd like to think she'd still keep coming every night, but lives get busy and it just isn't realistic. It was great because I'm a reluctant host, not one to invite a few couples to dinner without massively prepping first. But since Jess lived with us I didn't need to worry and just did what I'd normally do and just set the table for three. I think that is an attitude I need to adopt going forward - invite people over and just go with it.

A frequent meal on our table isn't really a proper meal. We call it the smorgas-board. It's a mix of apples, bread, cheese, salami on a cutting board, accompanied by whatever leftovers might be stirring in the fridge, and of course a little bite of something sweet for dessert. What was also interesting about our dinners is that Jess is gluten free and if you've been reading this blog you don't need to read too far to witness my love affair with bread. I eat it all day, at every meal. Anyway living gluten free at dinner as taught me a few things - to make a killer parmesan risotto and a delicious pesto quinoa, two dishes I now love.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, we went to the park for an evening picnic. There were four of us and I must have made enough food for a family of twelve, twelve hungry bears. We didn't get there until about 9pm and it was still entirely packed. There was a smokey haze floating just over everyone's heads from all of the grills going. We don't have a grill yet so we just went with the cold salads and cheese, but it was delicious and fun to be surrounded by so many other people. Our friend Taryn brought cheddar cheese to the picnic and I think Zach might have consumed 3/4 of the block. Not a cheddar intake I'm unfamiliar with considering my dad must eat a block a day, and when he's feeling generous, a little shaved off for the dogs. Zach was in absolute cheese heaven. I look for cheddar when I'm at the market, but not all markets carry it so we rarely have it. It's probably better this way...
For the picnic I made corn salad, potato salad, watermelon-greek panzanella and pesto-roasted tomato quinoa. I know, I told you, I made a lot. And then there was the cheese that Taryn brought and the chocolate chip cookies that I couldn't help but make just before we walked over. Mmm summer picnics.
I had made so much food for the picnic that we had an indoor picnic with leftovers last night and I think we will do the same tonight. Although, all that is left tonight is the potato salad and the quinoa, which Zach isn't too fond of. Sounds like it will be another smorgas-board type of night, some cheese, some fruit and leftovers...ooo and those cookies. I might have to run to the market for some vanilla ice cream and make cookie ice cream sandwiches.


  1. Sigh. I want to be at dinner with you and Zach!

  2. If you and J come to dinner we can play Murder on the Dance Floor at least once and follow it up with some Way Over Yonder and the Minor Key and then perhaps go into some Neko. And then you can sleepover and we'll wake up to Phish. mmkay?

  3. hahaha, sounds like a plan!