Friday, June 8, 2012

Wasn't That a Party?

Don't you love having friends over for dinner?  Not in the Hannibal Lecter way, sheesh!  In the wake up and start brainstorming delicious, impressive ways to feed your hungry, stylish, foodie friends way. The take a trip to Pete's Frootique, get all your ingredients, stop by Premier for a bottle of wine and scuttle home because they might be waiting there (in the rain) for you already way.  In the gather around the kitchen, pop open that wine and chop, stir, chat, drink, laugh, grill, gossip, saute, sing, way.  That way.

Well not long ago, the BF and I had our friend JB over for dinner.  It was one of those pretty typical Halifax Spring days, ie: cold, damp, rainy, foggy, so it seemed to me that the best thing I could make for us on that kind of day was a nice, hot soup and sandwich combo.

I can't lie, the whole meal was inspired by, aside from the dreary weather, the recent acquisition of a package of President's Choice maple smoked bacon.

 We'd had some for breakfast earlier that week and it was.....well you just have to try it to believe the joy it could bring into your life.  The smell!  Let me tell you, if I ever decide to become a real estate agent, I will cook a package of this stuff in the kitchen of every house I have to sell, and when people come to view it they'll smell it and just be like, "well honey, obviously we need to live here!"  It's that good.  The BF and I had also picked up some amazing cheese rolls at the La Have bakery on one of our road trips

and therefore, deal - sealed.

So clearly the soup needed to be accompanied by a delicious sandwich made with the bacon and yummy fresh bread.  As I was rambling around Pete's I came across some boneless, skinless chicken thighs and some nice fresh mozzarella.  Done.  I picked up plenty of yummy veggies for the soup (I'd decided to make Minestrone), made the all important stop at Premier Wine and Spirits and was on my way.

There's something about having some lovely, colorful fresh ingredients spread out before you that is just so exciting.  This:

quickly turned into this:
And away I went.  

First I sauteed the garlic in some olive oil.

When that delicious smell had made it's way around our kitchen and noses, I added the onions.

 I sauteed them until they became translucent and they had let out some of their moisture, then I added the leeks.

When they'd all had the chance to meet and mingle, I let the rest of the gang in.

So they hung out for a while, got to know each other and get comfy.  Then we all decided it was really meant to be a much bigger shindig, so....along came some pureed stewed tomatoes!

Followed closely by some long grain and wild rice, and some green lentils  and yellow split peas.

We invited some chick peas and turtle and kidney beans too, but they got the invite late and so had to get ready first.

While we waited for them to come, there were all kinds of other things to do.

The legumes finally arrived and jumped right in.

You should have seen how quickly they disappeared into the crowd!  THEN it was a party!

Meanwhile, as the Minestrone made merry.....on the other side of the kitchen:

(Please excuse the well-used state of the oven window,
 never have I claimed status as a domestic goddess!)
I sliced up some fresh tomatoes and red onions, topped the cheese rolls with them, the chicken, bacon and mozzarella and baked those babies until the cheese was bubbling ever so gently.  

Finally, I threw on some arugula, the King of the Greens, and PRESTO!  

Wasn't that a party?  These handsome devils can relate:

Now, as much as this gal loves her rainy day soups and sandwiches, here's hoping (can I get you all to raise your glasses?) that for the next while at least, we'll be more in the mood for a good barbeque, a cool salad and, well some things never change I suppose, a nice big glass of wine. 



  1. You had me at maple smoked bacon! I can't/don't cook but I love to read about other people who do cook. And you make entertaining seem so simple.

    1. Oh the bacon! It had me too, haha. And thanks, I love, love, love to cook and feed people!