make it fast!

April 17, 2013

Centerpiece with the last of the peonies and the first David Austin roses.

This dinner was planned in the morning while the guys were on the phone arranging a golf game.  Our friends have recently returned from a long trip and next week are going on another and I was pretty certain they would prefer a home cooked meal rather than going out.  But with such quick notice I knew everything had to be simple.  We were already having slow cooker chicken and while it's not something I would normally think to serve guests, I knew there would be enough for 4 and it turned out to be a really good dinner.  I think the trick with slow cooker chicken is to buy the best chicken you can, I got a Rocky from Whole Foods, and season it well.   I used a quartered lemon, garlic cloves, a quartered onion, bunches of fresh herbs and salt and pepper.  That's it, no oil or water.  After 6 hours or so on low, it makes a delicious broth to serve with your tender chicken.

With guests coming I knew I wanted  to step up my vegetable offerings and use one or two recipes from one of my new vegetable cookbooks for inspiration.  I love those books!  But always the first thing before planning a dinner party is to take a quick look around the garden to see what I can use.  For the centerpiece there were the last of the peonies and the first of the David Austin roses.  Easy and beautiful, they almost arrange themselves and looked so pretty.  I haven't seen my David Austins in 6 months, and when they come back, it's like welcoming back a dear old friend.  My roses are just about ready to saturate our garden with color and scent.  I cannot wait!

In the vegetable garden there was lots of Swiss chard, oranges and dill and other herbs so knew we would use these and augment the rest from my trip to the vegetable stand later in the morning.   I love my local vegetable stand and next time I'll remember to get pictures.  It's been a fixture in our town for as long as I've lived here, 40 years, and it's busy every day.

I made Swiss Chard Pancakes with Sorrel Sauce from the cookbook Plenty.

Beet, Orange and Olive Salad also from the cookbook, Plenty.

These days I use mother's vintage champagne glasses as compotes.

For an appetizer I made those microwave sweet potato chips again.  I told you about them before, oh my, they are so good, we are pretty much hooked on them.  Whenever I serve them people rave, so I show them the little chip maker and mandoline and tell them where I got it, they rush right out next day to get one too!  Dessert was strawberries with a splash of balsamic vinegar and a spoon or two of sugar, really easy, fast and good.  It's great to have a few easy and fast recipes in the arsenal for emergencies. 

This was a fast and easy dinner, yet looked beautiful and was delicious.  Entertaining doesn't have to be time consuming or fancy.  Our guests are so fun, we had a blast!

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  1. If you ever get tired of doing your blog, you could knock Martha Steward's socks off and have lots of followers.

  2. Kristen, Kristen, Kristen....even when you have to "make it fast", you make it great!!! It goes without saying (but I'm gonna say it anyway!) that I am jealous of the beautiful flowers (and veggies!) you are able to pick from your own yard this time of year. They're so bright and fluffy!!! They work PERFECTLY with the tablecloth!!!!!!!! The slow cooker chicken sounds good, and I'm intrigued that no water or oil was required. I'm going to have to give it a whirl. I'm looking for slow cooker recipes that are tried and liked by others for this summer. It gets mighty hot around here, and I don't want to have to turn that oven on for any reason if I can avoid it! :-) Your Mother's champagne glasses are very pretty and work great as compotes for dessert!

    Hope you're having a banner day!


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