Girls Night In. Now that is my kind of evening! Jessica and I have been spending a lot of time together in recent weeks, getting back to the way we used to hang out and cook, read through cookbooks, drink a bottle of wine, watch a movie and just relax. Since we've been thrift shopping we both have some cool new cookbooks to flip through and that means lots of recipes to try. We pick a weekend night, buy a bottle or two of wine, and pick a movie. We cook, we laugh, we sit on the deck and enjoy the cool evening breeze and just catch up.
Friday night we went to see a new movie that's out- Paris Can Wait. It's a cute story of a woman, played by Diane Lane, and friend, played by Arnaud Viard, traveling across France to get to Paris. She is in a hurry, but the friend, her husband's business partner, is a Frenchman and wants to share the beauty of his homeland with his new friend. The places they stop are fascinating, as she learns about the ancient history of France, and along the way they stop to eat. And eat. And have wine. Beautiful wines, beautiful foods. She is not only learning about France, but also about herself along the way. It's great movie, Jessica and I both loved it and swore we would go there one of these days. Since we had enjoyed this moving so much she asked if I had ever seen Midnight in Paris. I had not, so she said hey, let's make some dinner, open a bottle of wine and watch the movie! So just like the old days, we had a girls night in planned.
I offered to cook, and I was craving spaghetti and meat sauce. A quick trip to the grocery store, a side trip to Starbucks for a beverage, and we headed back to my house for our evening. First on the agenda- let that beautiful bottle of wine breathe while I cut up the vegetables for salad. I've also been craving The Chef's Greek salad for a while so I got that going while Jessica got the meat started for the sauce. Once the salad was chilling in the fridge and the meat sauce was simmering, we poured a glass of wine and headed for the deck. The sounds of the city made a nice backdrop to our conversation on my tiny deck packed with pots of herbs and peppers growing. We played music- all kinds of music, some rock, some Amy Winehouse, some Lady Gaga, some Latin, some 70s.....and worked our way through that bottle of wine.
After dinner we watched the movie and the evening wound down with a slice of apple pie and cinnamon swirl ice cream. That, my friends, is my idea of a perfect Girls Night.
The Baker's Greek Salad
1 English cucumber
4 Roma tomatoes
2 medium bell peppers
1 red onion
1 cup Kalamata olives
8 oz chunk Feta cheese*
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper
Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4 inch chunks. Place in large salad bowl.
Cut the Roma tomatoes into quarters lengthwise, then similar sized chunks. Cut the bell peppers and red onion into chunks. Halve the olives. Add to the bowl.
Cut the Feta cheese into bite sized chunks. Add to vegetables in the bowl. Drizzles the olive oil over, then the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat everything but not so rough that the cheese breaks up. Serve. Salad also holds well in the fridge.
* I used HyVee brand Tomato and Basil Feta. It was so delicious in this recipe I highly suggest you find a tomato and basil Feta for your salad. If HyVee is not in your area, I'm sure other brands are available.
The Greek salad was the perfect side dish to our homemade meat sauce and spaghetti. We paired it with a Tempranillo and Malbec blend that was the perfect dry red for pasta. Innovac!on is an Argentinian wine from the Santa Rosa vineyard in Mendoza. 70% Tempranillo and 30% Malbec, the hand-picked grapes are handles in small batches. The grapes are sustainably farmed with irrigation provided by pure mountain spring water in he vineyard that is wildlife friendly and conservation-minded.