Today we had our friends Ryan and Cyndi and their little boy over for dinner. Their kiddo was very well behaved. Meanwhile my two-year-old got wild and crazy and ran around without a diaper or pants for most of the night. Luckily for our sanity, we kept the menu super simple.
Cyndi brought over a very tasty layered Greek dip (hummus, kalamata olives, tomatoes, feta…) with pita chips, which we munched on before dinner. Andy grilled steaks for himself and Ryan and Cyndi and grilled (like actually grilled them on the grill, yup, you can do that) cheese sandwiches for me and the little boys. I made wedge salads with homemade bleu cheese dressing (which I prepped ahead of time) and these awesome oven fries which, after roasting, are tossed in oil with parsley and garlic: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/San-Francisco-Garlic-Fries-366699.
Yeah, I know that they’re probably not much healthier (if at all) than regular deep-fried fries, but you don’t have to waste a whole pot full of oil for deep-fat frying or get your stove top full of grease splatter making them. And they are incredibly yummy.
Dessert was a very slight variation on these awesome Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats over at SmittenKitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/11/salted-brown-butter-crispy-treats/ .The only changes I made were a) a slight reduction in the amount of salt added to the butter (I used a scant quarter teaspoon), b) the addition of some melted dark chocolate on top of the bars, and c) a very judicious sprinkling of fleur de sel over the top. Did I gild the lily? Perhaps.
To keep things really easy, we also had my new favorite summer drink: Easy Gin Basil Mojitos. Although I know it’s not really a mojito without the rum or mint, the gin and basil are refreshing on a hot summer day. What makes the drink so simple is that just one ingredient–French lime soda–stands in for limes, sugar and soda water. I like the French limeade from Trader Joe’s, but there are more than a few kinds out there. Although it’s not much more of a recipe than the recipe for rum and coke, here’s how the cocktail goes:
4 1/2 ounces French limeade
1 1/2 ounces gin
2 basil leaves
In an eight ounce glass, combine the limeade and gin. Rub the basil leaves gently between your fingers to release their oils. Tear the leaves into the cocktail and stir. Top the glass of with ice and enjoy.