About two months ago, I read the book Bread and Wine by Shuana Niequist and fell in love with her writing style and ideas. You will find a lovely mixture of recipes, life stories and faith that will leave you craving for a full house and delicious food.
Some of the ladies in my small group had heard about the book and decided it could be fun to read it and then meet weekly to make some of the recipes. At the end of the book, she separates it into four dinner clubs & provides a main course, salad, side and dessert for each week. Our first dinner club was two weeks ago where we had steak au poivre with a cognac sauce, simple greens with a light vinaigrette, risotto with mushrooms and a (healthy-ish) blueberry crumble. Everyone came over to my house and provided one of the dishes or wine. For hours we sat around our farmhouse table, with make-shift chairs due to the extra number of people, and it was wonderful. The salad was light and tangy and the perfect match for the steak. At first bite, I fell in love with risotto and ate more of that than my steak to be honest. It was savory and somehow risotto just feels comforting. And lastly, the blueberry crumble (with vanilla ice cream) was divine!
Week two began with mango curry chicken served over rice, goat cheese biscuits, a green well salad (topped with dried fruit & candied walnuts) and flour-less brownies to finish it off. Our sweet neighbor made the biscuits and I absolutely loved seeing her husband walking down the street carrying a piping hot cast iron skillet full of biscuits. We had a few more come this week so we again crammed in a few more chairs and sat extra close, which made it even more fun. Seeing my house full, connecting old friends with new friends and having a really loud dinner (where you laugh so hard you cry) makes me so happy!
I'm already looking forward to next week (bacon wrapped dates, white bean soup, feta watermelon salad and dark chocolate sea salted toffee)! I would encourage you to read this book & try out a few dinner parties of your own. Shauna Niequist talks a lot about how it doesn't need to be perfect or even fancy, just welcoming people into your home and sitting around the dinner table with folks creates such a bond and builds wonderful community. So don't be intimidated or feel like your house "isn't nice enough," people don't notice those things ... they care about feeling loved and appreciated. AND people love to help so don't feel like you need to do it all on your own; I'm learning to give guests a job and let them wash some dishes.
I intended on taking pictures this week, but let's be honest once I saw those biscuits it was useless, I wanted those things in my belly immediately. Maybe next week, but no promises!