We always have a theme--last night it was Farmers' Market. We ate a lot of tomatoes, but no one minded.
We always invite a couple of guests--last night it was Christi & Scott Branscom, who've just moved into a pied a terre downtown. We warned them that's how we started. Next thing you know, you're selling the big house along with most of what you've spent decades accumulating & the stuff the kids left behind when they moved out.
Last night we started at Monique & Bruce Anderson's place at the Glencoe, where we were served these beautiful appetizer plates--cheese, marcona almonds, peaches, berries, grapes, & tomato slices with basil & mozzarella--with a sparkling pinot grigio we all loved.
Having been told this pinot grigio is available only at one winery in California (which doesn't ship to Tennessee), someone proposed, "Road Trip!"
Tim Young, Jeff Cupp, & I left the Andersons' condo early to finish preparation of the main course at their place at Gallery Lofts. Lately we've struck a partnership where I prepare the food and the two of them come up with a signature cocktail, sometimes at their condo, sometimes at our condo at Kendrick Place. We have a bigger kitchen, but they have more living/dining space, so we most often opt for their place.
Check out last night's signature cocktail: Watermelon Moonshine Martinis, which involved strained watermelon, vodka, & watermelon moonshine...and who knows what else. They were beautiful...and powerful.
What's the green stuff around the rim? A mix of salt & sugar with green food coloring involved at some point in the preparation.
I prepared Stacked Tomato Salad (recipe at bottom)
And Salad Nicoise. I used Julia Child's recipe, which is widely available in her books & online.
I used the largest tray Tim & Jeff had--it was still overflowing with tuna, green beans, fingerling potatoes, tomatoes, boiled eggs, Nicoise olives, rolled anchovies, & capers drizzled with a mustardy vinaigrette.
We finished the evening at Cynthia Moxley and Alan Carmichael's place in Cherokee Lofts with peach cobbler served with vanilla ice cream & champagne cocktails.
It was the perfect way to end the evening. The cobbler was light & delicious...Recipe requested! And champagne cocktail is always welcome.
Another fun progressive with friends...That's what we're having.
Stacked Tomato Salad with Sweet Basil Dressing
Tomato slices, ½ inch thick
Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the mozzarella on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. Repeat. Top with another tomato slice and a small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil or with basil microgreeens.
Sweet Basil Dressing
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 cup pure olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (or basil microgreens)
Whisk together vinegar,
mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until
emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.