Sparkly Em’s philosophy of “Make friends through cake”), but Miss B’s preschool doesn’t allow homemade food to be brought in (WTH?) and we don’t have enough chairs—or plates—in our serviced apartment to have more than one dinner guest at a time.
Well, last week DP had a three-day conference at work and invited not one but two out-of-towners for dinner—not together, given the aforementioned chairs problem, but on successive nights. As you can imagine, I was all a-dither. What to make? Should I serve sit-down appetizers, or some dip and crackers? Would I be able to rustle up enough serving dishes? What could I come up with for dessert that could be made ahead, cooked on a baking sheet, not involve fruit (a whole nother story), and still be company-worthy?
Is it clear by now that I am out of practice at handling this sort of thing with aplomb? Especially since the invitation was billed as a regular family dinner, nothing fancy, so I didn’t want to go completely over the top and overwhelm anyone, including myself.
I think I managed to find the balance in the end. And perhaps the most important thing: I remembered that we don’t have a corkscrew (actually, we have three, but…you know the rest), and bought screw-top wine.
And served it in coffee cups. We really know how to do things swanky ‘round these parts.
Feta salsa dip
Adapted from smitten kitchen
I came across versions of this recipe twice in two days, which I took as a sign to make some. It does not require a food processor, and in fact is intentionally chunky, which I almost always think is a good thing. It is delicious and any leftovers make a great lunch or hearty snack.
1 package (7 oz/210 g) feta cheese (any kind)
2/3 cup raw, roasted, or sun-dried tomatoes, or a combination
½ cup olives
3-4 basil leaves
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
Chop the feta into a medium-sized bowl, followed by the tomatoes. Pit the olives, if necessary, by squashing them under a coffee mug, then chop and add. Slice the scallions, chop the basil, and add. Drizzle with oil and vinegar and stir to combine, mashing the ingredients together a bit. Season with freshly ground pepper and salt, if necessary (although the feta may be salty enough).
Serve with crackers or other sturdy, crunchy dip-carrier of your choice.
Makes about 2.5 cups.