Although you can't buy it on iTunes, I think cooking with friends is just as good. There are a gaggle of reasons why it's an excellent past-time, dinner-time, party-time...
- It's fun. Another couple joining you for a double date, a few glasses of good wine, someone attempting to use an immersion blender for the first time. It's either a recipe for disaster or hilarity, and it always seems to be the latter.
- It's less work than cooking alone. Hate peeling carrots? Assign that job to a friend while you focus on chopping onions. Or you can be the supervisor and just watch everyone else cook while you sip a cocktail. Someone has to be the coordinator, right?
- It takes the pressure off. Entertaining can be intimidating, especially if you're not terribly comfortable in the kitchen. Cooking with your dinner guests is the best way to remedy that. If your meal doesn't turn out according to plan, it's on everyone's shoulders. And you know my rule; if dinner doesn't work, you can all go to McDonald's.
This salad is one of my favorite things to make when I cook with my friend, Kelly. It's her favorite. Also, it's easy. So we can focus on gabbing and drinking. (See #1 above.)
Salad with Goat Cheese and Dried Cranberries
A.k.a. Kelly's Favorite Salad
8 cups mixed greens
2 apples, very thinly sliced (If you're not as obsessed with apples as I am, you could use just one.)
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
High-quality balsamic vinegar
High-quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl (or on individual plates) combine greens, apples, goat cheese, cranberries, and pecans. Drizzle with vinegar and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.