I have long sung the praises of using whatever is in your fridge and pantry to make delicious food. Last week was no exception, except that instead of just feeding it to my family, I extended it to my book club group.
I had a combination of promising ingredients and a few leftovers that I wanted to incorporate. Here's the list:
Homemade guacamole from a recent nacho night
Some recently thawed round steak
Homemade ricotta salata
A tube of unopened goat cheese from New Years Eve
Chocolate chip cookie mix (a homemade gift from G's day home)
Fig chutney, also from New Years Eve
Salted herbs from my garden
Soy-anise marinade leftover from braised short ribs
With the purchase of some fresh fruit, tortilla chips and crackers, I pulled together the following menu:
Chips and guacamole
Salami, ricotta salata and olive skewers
Honey/soy beef skewers (threaded the meat onto toothpicks, brushed with honey and roasted at 375F)
Mashed potato puffs
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Veggies and salted herb dip (salted herbs stirred into half mayonnaise and half yogurt)
Crackers with goat cheese topped with fig chutney
A fruit plate of berries and melon
I began the night before by slicing the steaks into long, thin strips, pouring over some marinade and refrigerating overnight. The next afternoon (the day of the book club meeting), I got my boys to help me make the chocolate chip cookies. Win-win! They got to help me bake, we got to have warm cookies, and we got to give some of them away, so that I wasn't fighting them off as they clamoured for more cookies over the next few days. And just adding melted butter, egg and vanilla to premixed dry ingredients is a super-quick way to make cookies.
To feed my family dinner that night, I threw some frozen pork potstickers that I had made the week before into a frying pan, and offered up some of the beef skewers, salami and cheese, mashed potato puffs and veggies and dip. It was a perfect Finger Food Friday! They were happy, and I didn't have to be distracted from my preparations for the book club. All good.
I skewered the salami, cheese and olives, mixed the dip, put everything on fancy plates, put some wine outside (at –25C, it chills fast), and I was ready to go. My husband was sure, when he saw the spread, that I'd definitely have leftovers. He underestimates my book club ladies. There was virtually nothing left, and they asked for the potato puff recipe. A sure sign of success!