We had our first little dinner party here at a glass of milk. Sure, we’ve had some friends over, even a couple weekend visitors, but always informally.
On Thursday we had company coming, with the sole purpose of enjoying a good meal. Dinner, to be exact.
I (the queen of agonizing) pored over cookbooks. I wanted something that was yummy, but low-maintenance. Something that would allow me to sit on the couch and enjoy our company, but knock their socks off when we sat at the table.
One thing I knew for certain was that we needed flowers (don’t worry, we turned off Sports Center),
and an inexpensive centerpiece.
Of course, cupcakes were in order.
And then I had a thought. It may have been more of a craving. I haven’t had a good burger in FORever. So burgers and some baked parmesan and basil fries it was.
With a side of (unphotographed) asparagus.
It was a great success. This menu works because the cupcakes can be done the night before, the potatoes and asparagus take a little prep before company comes, but need no maintenance at all in the oven, and the burgers need only be flipped once. Or for me, not at all, since my husband is the grill master. He added just a touch of salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. The result is a super-juicy burger, that only gets better piled high with lettuce and tomato. I like to think we pulled off what Ina always talks about, serving something a little unexpected when you’re hosting good friends and family.
Baked Basil Parmesan Fries
*adapted from Love and Olive Oil
- 4 medium potatoes (I used regular, good-old, yellow potatoes)
- 3 T of olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- a nice chunk of Parmesan cheese
- a handful of chopped basil
- salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch sticks and spread on a rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan). Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the garlic, basil, salt and pepper, and grate as much Parmesan as you can stomach over the potatoes. Toss the potatoes around, so they pick up a lot of the flavor that’s lying around on the pan.
Roast in the oven for 35 minutes, checking on the potatoes about halfway through, to turn them. And don’t be afraid to grate some more cheese on top, just before serving.