Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dinner date

As much as I love my girlfriends, in a city this big and busy, it's hard for us all to get together. If we're out at night, it's too loud to catch up and dinners at restaurants add a stressful high bill to the night of fun. So last night, my friends and I began our now monthly tradition of coming together for a potluck dinner.

A different girl offers up her apartment each time and the host cooks the main dish. Everyone else is assigned the right accompanying pieces from appetizer, to sides to dessert and drinks.

Our first try at it was at my apartment and I was so excited to host. I love playing host and my collection of vintage aprons definitely came in handy in the preparations.

For the main dish I made chicken stuffed with mozzarella, basil and tomato ... a recipe I found here on Martha Stewart's Web site. I substituted sundried tomatoes for canned diced tomatoes with olive oil and garlic for a more bruschetta-esque flavor. I also kept the ingredients on top of the chicken instead of stuffing it, this way the mozzarella got a nice brown crust in the oven. I'm sure the stuffed-version would give it another fantastic spin.

All of my friends really came through on their ends. Jess was in charge of the appetizers and in addition to some always-yummy edamame, she introduced to a fantastic new combination - hummus mixed with pomegranate. We ate it with some pita chips and I was practically stuffed before dinner even began!

Jen brought a delicious dish of brussel spouts which she cut, rubbed individually with garlic and cooked with fine chopped pancetta. Her dedication paid off, the flavors were incredibly delicious!

Gena showed up with tons of fresh asparagus which she drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic and pepper. Always a simple, great side!

Lauren made a delectable salad with spring greens, cucumbers, pears, feta cheese and topped off with creamy maple balsamic dressing from Stonewall Kitchen. It tasted restaurant-quality good!

The dessert girls made sure our sweet cravings were well-fed. Amanda made fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies and bought four (yes four!) types of Ben & Jerry's ice cream to pair with them. Justine stopped by Crumbs for a scrumptious assortment of mini-cupcakes from M&M to Cookies & Cream to Coconut.

And Sam, Jenni and Michelle kept the wine flowing.

I was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures of the night! There was lots of laughter, tons of great food and so much warmth in my tiny home!

I highly recommend trying this out with your own group of pals. Email me for tips on recipes, table arrangements and more!

Images from top to bottom: Vintage dinner party from, Chicken from, Pomegranate from, Sprouts from, Asparagus from, Salad from, Crumbs from

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