No this is not a review of 70’s music – it’s a recap of a great meal….So I got an email this morning from my husband, Jeff. Attached were some pictures from his iPhone of a fantastic meal we ate this past Sunday with friends and I just had to share them.
Some cooking, eating and entertaining is planned in advance and some is spur of the moment. And although I am not a good spur of the moment entertainer, I appreciate those who are and love the serendipitous feeling of being included in such events. We got a call on Sunday from our friends Jeff and Holly F. saying “Jenny and Tom (Holly’s sister and brother-in-law) are here. We have a brisket in the smoker and the kids are all playing, do you want to join us for dinner?”
Well, these are some amazing people – the kind whose company you just don’t pass up, and did someone say “brisket” and “smoker” in the same sentence? Of course we went. The only question was what to bring to contribute to the meal.
I remembered a recipe I had recently found for Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. This being the end of summer, which means our garden is littered with tomatoes, made the decision a no brainer. Jeff and I worked together on the recipe and during the process of slow roasting the tomatoes our house smelled incredible. I really wish there was such a thing as “smellavision” because it was an aroma that real foodies would love to share.
As I’m reliving the night in my brain, I am asking myself, “What are the things that made it such a memorable meal?” The answers include:
- Amazing friends who share your love of truly good food
- Good beer and wine
- A lot of laughs
- A lively atmosphere
- Incredible food – smoked brisket, roasted tomato Caprese salad, and oil/salt rubbed roasted potatoes
The brisket was divine……it had been prepared with a simple rub of olive oil, salt and pepper and smoked for several hours. The resulting smoke ring was a sight to behold. Thanks, Tom! Please remember the photos were taken with my husband’s iPhone, not in a studio!
The Caprese salad was delicious – a keeper of a recipe as far as I am concerned. The only change I made was rather than putting whole basil leaves in the salad, I made a fresh pesto for the side – you have to think creatively when kids are involved. And in my honest opinion, pesto flavors a Caprese salad better than individual leaves of basil. You can schmear it around and get the basil flavor throughout the salad rather than in isolated pieces.
We dug into the meal and I noticed there was not much talking going on – always a sign of good food. The conversation we were having was mostly about how good everything was. We hit a point near the end of the meal when there was only one slice of tomato and one piece of mozzerella left on the platter and just a few slices of brisket remained. You know that stage, where everyone wants to take the last serving, but doesn’t want to look like a pig. In some company this would have been awkward, but not with these friends – one of us proudly took the last of the Caprese salad while another took a slice of brisket and dragged it through the “dressing’ that remained on the Caprese platter – a brilliant idea. The next thing we knew, we were all picking up one last slice of brisket with our fingers and following suit! Mmm mmm mmm.
The meal proved that not all cooking, eating and entertaining has to be stuffy. Sometimes a last minute invitation and eating with your fingers is the finest dining around!!!