And now, back to our regular food writing.

In an ongoing effort to resist the call of the take-out menu, I’ve been turning to the contents of my fridge and pantry for simple dinners. And they’ve been coming out really good. Plates of food with only a few ingredients that add up to a lot more than the sum of their parts. I made a broccoli pasta last week that was so good, it felt selfish not to share. In fact, two bites in, I brought it back to the kitchen so I could take a damn picture of it. Which is here:

So, I got this idea in my head that I should really start sharing this food a lot more. Have people over for dinner as much as schedules will allow. I can see my friends, share some food and enjoy food the way it should be enjoyed: with friends.

I kicked off my big plan by inviting my upstairs neighbors over for Sunday dinner But somehow, wrapped up in the idea of Entertaining, I abandoned my simple plan and ended up making something a lot more complicated. I spent all day browning, braising and simmering oxtail stew. I baked fresh bread to start and madelines to finish. It was nonstop work for most of the day and by the time I heard the knock at the door I was exhausted.

And to make it that much more unsatisfying, I wasn’t happy with the food. It was a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. I hadn’t let the liquid separate enough so the stew was too fatty and the meat didn’t get as tender as I hoped it would. And there wasn’t enough salt either.

Still, the bread was good, the cookies were fine, and it felt good to have people over. I’ve just got to go back to my initial idea. Simple, good food. Make a dinner I’d usually make for myself, just make enough to share.

I’ve got more than a few dinners lined up at my place in the next few weeks, and I will try damn hard to resist my cache of clipped recipes and scrawled ideas. I’m going to plan, but not overplan. Keep some charcuterie and cheeses on hand for snacky starters, turn to the CSA contents and basics for ideas. Let the ingredients do the impressing.

More to come on the dinner party series, for certain.

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