While I live to cook and entertain, it’s become harder to do as more and more of our friends have had kids. Dinner parties start at 5 and end at 8, so everyone can rush home to start the bedtime routine. To accommodate this new stage of life, I now find it easier just bring the cooking to them rather than having them schlep kids, toys, carseats, iPad entertainment systems, and bottles to us. Plus on a completely selfish note, I have no cleaning to do afterwards!
This weekend, we found ourselves in this new routine so that we could catch up with our longtime friends Dunagan and Mandy. It was a last minute get-together scheduled 3 hours before it was to happen. We traded notes on what was in our fridges to figure out the dinner menu. They had a bunch of tomatoes and were craving caprese (isn’t everyone always craving caprese?). Not only is this one of my favorite summer starters, it’s also great for impromptu dinner gatherings. Little prep is needed and it can even be assigned to a cooking novice, as anyone can slice a few tomatoes and mozzarella.
Off I went to the store to pick up some fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil to go with their sweet tomatoes and syrupy balsamic. While Mandy assembled our caprese salad. I got to work on our main dinner (a simple ragu with pasta, some green beans, and a kale salad). We caught up in the kitchen while our husbands were assigned Hide and Seek duty. We then all sat down to dinner – kids too – all eating the same meal together. It wast just like it had been, plus a few booster seats and a bedtime in the middle. Luckily with this new tradition, no one had to rush home.
- Tomatoes, preferably heirloom – 1 lb., sliced
- Fresh mozzarella – 1/2 lb., sliced
- Basil – a few leaves
- Balsamic – 2 tbs.
- Olive oil – 2 tbs.
- Tomatoes / Mozzarella – Prep as directed
- Lay out tomatoes and mozzarella. Top with torn up basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Season with salt.