You don’t need to have lots of time, money, or culinary skills in order to have some friends over for a meal.
My friend Jesse and his partner Richard are visiting New England from Seattle, and I had them over for dinner while they were on the Vermont leg of their journey.
Jesse and I met while attending the same bizarre Christian school in small town North Dakota. His step mother was a teacher. In 4th grade, she gave me detention for saying “Oh Fiddlesticks” because “saying a word in place of a swear word is just as bad in the eyes of God”.
If she could only hear me now.
I got home from my little camping trip that afternoon, and by the time I unpacked the car and checked in with the farm crew, I had only 45 minutes to prepare dinner, set the table, etc.
So I ran out to the garden to grab some squash and zucchini, which I thinly sliced up with some cabbage, carrots, and a slap-dash citrusy sesame vinaigrette.
I had some thawed ground beef and pork in the fridge, which I browned with a bunch of ginger and garlic, then stirred in a spicy peanut sauce (the same kind of sauce I’d make for peanut noodles).
Topped with garlic scape and toasted sesame seeds, served with a pile of Bibb lettuce leaves and a ramekin of chopped peanuts. Bing bang boom, we had “Asian” lettuce wraps.
I had some of my flourless almond cookies leftover from farmers’ market, which I served upon this gorgeous little cut glass thrift store cake pedestal.
This basic weeknight dinner was made special by using fun dishes and serving ware, drinking good wine, and throwing some blown-open poppies on the table.
It was great. But if anything had gone awry, I’d have simply said “Oh Fiddlesticks!” and moved on.