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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Table Talk......

Judiland has been brimming with activity this weekend---with both kids home and lots of yard work needing done and various schedules  and commitments to deal with, my much loved family Sunday dinner felt like an albatross around my neck all day yesterday.  Add to that the fact that life was rocked a bit when Carmen's mom had to be hospitalized and the fact that we had plans to host a little gathering at our house on Saturday night, I was in full panic mode.
Never a fun thing.....
Typically, any time we host any type of gathering at our home, I am very intentional about everything once I decide how I want the event to feel.  Sometimes I am inspired by the event itself,  other times I focus on a type of food or ingredient and other times, I just get this idea and run with it.  Whether it's just a small dinner for four or a bustling party for 50, I can't help but start with a vision and then building everything from there.   Sometimes the menu is the star, other times it's the wine or the spirit that is highlighted and there are times when I am simply moved by wanting to feature a particular set of dishes or serving pieces.  I've been known to throw a party just because I happened upon a supply of handmade invitations in a bargain bin.   Whatever the case, even though the inspiration can just happen and  there's a willy-nilly type of organization to the entire process, there's always a plan. 
Sunday dinners are a bit different---I treasure the laziness of the time in the kitchen, hearing the sounds of my family in the background, listening to their conversations and soaking in their laughter.  I look forward to chatting with them as I chop and toss and stir and take pride when they show an interest in what's going on in the kitchen.  I find a great joy in filling the house with comforting and enticing smells and in serving foods that everyone loves.  As I cook, the anticipation of our meal together is what calms me and relaxes me and reminds me how blessed we are.  Looking forward to the laughter and smiles that comes with the four of us spending time around the table is even more important than the meal I serve.  As much as I love the art of entertaining for groups of any size, family time at the table is what means the most to me. 

 Family dinners for the four of us are so very rare these days.  So, when the opportunity presents itself, I want to make it special and memorable.   Although I realize that it's not all about the food---I can't help but want to make a meal that everyone looks forward to and enjoys. But, with the way the weekend was shaping up, my typical love of  preparing Sunday dinner was lost to a frenzy of everything that was going on and everything that had to happen in a short 24 hours.

Thankfully, our almost-PhD has no problem devising a menu and taking command of the cooking to make dinner happen.  When he realized my frenzied state and what was going on around me, he took Sunday dinner into his own hands.  It was a wonderful feeling to know that Sunday dinner meant that much to him.    I was grateful for the help but even more excited to see what his menu would look like.  Although some of his recipes and techniques are very close to my own, he always puts a different spin on things--which is a nice and welcome change.  So, when he blew into town late yesterday, he put together his plan and then we took a quick shopping trip--where he took total charge of Sunday dinner while I loaded the cart with what I needed for our informal gathering last night.   It was a nice respite from the dizzying pace of the day. 

At the moment, there's a lull in the action.  The house is quiet and all seems well.  Since I can't guarantee that will be the case the rest of the day, I wanted to share a wonderful recipe from last night that I think everyone will want to add to their summer entertaining menus. I got lots of ooohs and aahs and there was not a speck of it left over.....

Summer Sausage On Baguettes 

2 long sticks of French Baguettes---sliced in 1 inch slices (on diagonal), toasted lightly in oven
2 pounds bulk Italian sweet sausage--cooked, drained, cooled and crumbled well
1 bag of frozen pineapple--thawed and diced very small
1 large large red onion--diced well and sauteed in a bit of olive oil, cooled
1 cup of sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Combine cooled sausage, thawed pineapple, cooled onion and sour cream--mix very well.  Add salt and pepper if desired.
Serve chilled with crunchy Baguettes circling it. 

I served this wonderful appetizer with a white wine that I am trying out for the summer--- Gazela Vinho Verde.   It was an amazing combination.   The Gazela might be my go-to wine for summer entertaining.  It's very light and quenching--making it the perfect accompaniment for the recipe above.  Plus, it's extremely affordable--it's easy to buy a case without breaking the bank!
 I can't wait to try it with other foods! 

Hope you Sunday is filled with wonderful moments......

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