Hi everyone! What a week. I was busy enough, and at times tired enough, not to write much. I’m sorry. The week ended on a high note, however, with a wonderful meeting of my supper club (details of this meeting to come). I want to dedicate this post to the fabulous group of ladies who are part of the collaboration we fondly call, Savoring Suppers. A major reason I began writing this blog is to provide a creative outlet for myself – allowing myself to write and to express my feelings towards all things food. Savoring Suppers helps fuel this creativity and much more as a group that my dear friend Stacy and I started over the winter. This is how it works: once a month we get together at one of our homes and cook a meal themed around either a region, holiday, cuisine, or season. We scheme up recipes to try ahead of time, get together and prepare and cook the different courses, and then savor the entire thing as we enjoy a delicious meal. We plan on doing many more food-awesome things with our group – perhaps take cooking classes, go on restaurant outings, and attending food politics/food writer lectures. There are no boundaries to what we can do together.
Each month we have come together with a slightly different group, but the result has been the same = a great time and a full tummy. The wonderful gals in our group all share a love of food, an interest in cooking, and an appetite for deliciousness. Clearly this is the kind of company I like to keep. Our first meeting involved some simple and satisfying homemade pizzas. Who doesn’t love a good pizza? It was winter and some warm cheesy pizza was a very good call.
We started with a simple honey wheat dough…very easy to begin with and the food processor made it even easier.
Next we made a classic basil marinara sauce. We spiced it up with some crushed red pepper flakes…but didn’t do anything fancy.
We ended up with a few varieties of pizza, but this was particularly yummy – our white pie of fresh mozzarella, some caramelized onions, and mushrooms.
Another Savoring Suppers night resulted in a welcome to spring menu. I hosted this time and wine in hands, we made a delectable meal. Our meal was colorful and rich – filled with bright and zesty ingredients. We incorporated some of the warmth from winter with a savory bread pudding, the freshness of spring with a crisp arugula pesto snap beans side, and the happiness of warmer days to come with a berry treat to finish the experience. I’ll share these recipes with you because they were that good. The green beans win for healthiest. I won’t pretend that the bread pudding nor the dessert were low-calorie or keeping health in mind. But they were wholesome and the recipes pure – nothing artificial here, folks. I’ll leave you right now with the bean recipe. Maybe you want to make these tonight?
Arugula Pesto Snap Beans
courtesy of Sarah Foster’s Southern Kitchen
Arugula Pesto Base:
- 4 cups firmly packed arugula, washed and drained
- 1 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 2 pounds snap beans, stem ends removed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 handfuls baby arugula (about 6 cups), washed and drained
- 1 cup (3 ounces) freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions for pesto:
- Place arugula, cheese, almonds, garlic, salt, and pepper in the jar of a blender or bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to chop. Add lemon juice and pulse until pureed. With the motor running, add olive oil and puree until smooth. Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
Directions for dish:
- Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt and return to a boil. Prepare an ice-water bath and set aside.
- Add beans to boiling water and cook until bright in color and barely tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to ice-water bath to cool. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel; transfer to refrigerator until chilled, up to 2 hours.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together pesto and olive oil until well combined. Place beans in a large bowl, along with arugula and 1/2 cup cheese; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add pesto-olive oil mixture and gently stir just once to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container, refrigerated, until ready to serve, up to 1 day.