Confession: during the fall and winter nights I love comfort food. It seems that salads and smoothies no longer fit the bill. I need something a bit more substantive. Recently I had a small gathering and dinner party of choice. With a few guests with food allergies, we opted to make a meal where the courses were both gluten-free and dairy-free. This meal was hearty and delicious. Filling the bill for the perfect weeknight dinner of comfort food. For the polenta, instead of using parmesan, we used a blend of nutritional yeast, cashews, and garlic powder. Serving breaded chicken thighs with a golden gravy and sauce on the bed of polenta, topped with ground salt and pepper, and fresh herbs.
With this gathering my focus was simplicity. I sourced my ingredients and prepped all the items within three hours. Having people over shouldn’t feel like an endless chore and I know if the tasklist gets too long, I’ll stop hosting people as often as I’d like. To stretch a budget, this dinner uses common ingredients and a variety of cooking methods to elevate them.
With the start of fall comes with the flavors of all things pumpkin, cinnamon, and spice. With this recipe we’re taking a step back from the typically pumpkin flavors and are embracing the taste of the apples. With a flakey, buttered shell, and finished with the drizzle of a bourbon caramel sauce, this dessert is a crowd pleaser and embraces the rustic side of baking. (An added bonus, getting to use my beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer.)
When it comes to eating cleanly, I can handle living without sugar. My true challenges are letting go of carbs and cheese. We’re known for living off of antipasto around our house and it’s a guarantee that a charcuterie will be served at any given party.
This recipe is a lighten up version of an Italian classic, Eggplant Parmesan. By removing a few of the breaded coatings and subtracting the cheese, this recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner and can be made quickly over the stovetop.
We’ve absolutely loved sharing this week’s posts. We hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes and are inspired to host your own gathering. The other day I found myself in conversation with a friend and we were reminiscing over the past year. Some of our favorite nights in Redding have been like this. Often times outside, underneath the string lights and stars, with a drink in hand, surrounded by great food and community. In the daily grind of life, it’s challenging to find margin to make a delicious healthy meal, much less make the time to sit down and enjoy it. It feels somewhat counter cultural to unplug and engage at an evening meal. May I issue you a challenge? Find the hearts and those you want to share a meal with. Set a date and make it happen. Whether it’s lobster or grilled pizza, find a dish that’s simple to prepare, set the table and gather those you love. It’s worth it time after time.