Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dinner for a Friend

A few weeks ago — where does the time go to? — a good friend and I were trying to figure out a dinner place for girls' night. It had been a long time since we'd had time to just sit and talk over a glass of wine. Unfortunately, every restaurant in her college town home would be packed for graduation day. Plan B was a Romanian pot luck dinner, but the recipes links to choose from were a bit, uh, challenging. Brains in jelly? Breaded udder?

We went with Plan C. As in "see you at your house with a bottle of wine and I will cook." I like Plan C. My friend was overjoyed and confessed, "I haven't had a home-cooked meal since 2009."

Wow. So, what could I prep ahead, make in a flash in a friend's kitchen? This fit the bill. Sorrel is a perennial herb with a lemony tart flavor. Added to basil, it makes a light, delicious spring pesto.

Asparagus, Proscuitto and Wild Mushrooms with Sorrel Pesto
1 lb. asparagus, cleaned and chopped to 1/4 inch pieces
6 oz. wild mushrooms, your choice
1/4 lb. proscuitto, cut in small cubes
1 tbs. olive oil

1 lb. pasta

Sorrel Pesto
1/3 cup sorrel leaves
1/3 cup basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to boil and start pasta. Heat the olive oil. Add the proscuitto and saute until just browned. Add the asparagus and mushrooms and saute for another 5-7 minutes. Drain the pasta when al dente, toss with the pesto. Gently toss with the asparagus mixture. Shave a bit of parmesan on top if desired.

Enjoy with a good friend.

Bleu Potato Salad

I wanted to do this salad with the actual blue potatoes, but no luck finding those. It works great with any small new potato. Of course bleu cheese and sour cream taste great just licked off the mixing spoon, potatoes or not.

Bleu Cheese Potato Salad
2 lbs. small new potatoes, washed
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup canola mayo
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs. chopped sorrel
6 oz. bleu cheese crumbles
kosher salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Cut them to bite-sized chunks. Mix the remaining ingredients together for dressing. Fold the dressing and potatoes together. Chill at least four hours before serving.

This upscale twist on a class goes great with the North Carolina-style pulled pork and slaw.