Late last year, we started a dinner group with pals in the Rochester area. And our taste buds have been treated to a host of delicious foods ever since.
The first dinner, hosted by KP at her impeccably (and enviably!) tidy Rochester flat, was a multi-course harvest dinner that left us so stuffed we feared dozing off on the drive home. There was pumpkin soup, salad, pork roast, potatoes, homemade applesauce and pumpkin-plum tart for dessert.
The second dinner, at our house on a cold January night, was an Italian feast that began with Cathy A's appetizers of red grapes rolled in goat cheese and nuts and crisp-tender asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto, above; followed by Robert's rich and meaty Bolognese sauce on pappardelle pasta; a gorgeous green salad by KP that looked no worse for the wear after its Thruway trip; an excellent selection of mostly red and mostly California wines contributed by Matt and Pat; and tiramisu for dessert, which even those in the group who don't ordinarily go for sweets couldn't resist. It was surprisingly light, with a nice, not overwhelming, espresso kick.
Cathy and Marie shook things up a bit in March, when they hosted get-together No. 3. For the main course, they prepared a flavorful African stew containing chicken, sweet potatoes, garlic, ground nuts, sliced bananas and other ingredients, served over rice. Not sure what might be served as an appetizer in Africa to complement such a dish, we decided instead to make a white bean hummus (below) that was a hit at a previous party and toasted some pita triangles to go with it. KP's dessert of wine-soaked pineapple chunks tossed with cashew nuts was different -- and refreshing.
The next session of dinner group takes us to Pat's house in the Finger Lakes countryside next Saturday, where an all-American cookout with ice cold beer, build-your-own char-grilled burgers and basic sides, like macaroni salad and baked beans, is on the menu.
It's sure to be a memorable evening, for the great company and conversation as much as the food.
It's a win-win situation. And we don't have to drive home 'til Sunday!