Who Wants to Cook on Friday Night? Not Me!

Who wants to cook on Friday night?  Not me!

At the end of a challenging and productive week at work, I want to be pampered at a restaurant or to have something super-easy at home.

That’s where our Family Smorgasbord comes into play.  Here’s what we had for dinner last Friday night, just the Grill-Meister and me.

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It’s a selection of cheeses from our local farmers’ market, some fresh fruit and veggie with a couple of dips we had on hand (also from the farmers’ market), sliced meats and olives.

The “Recipes”

The only “cooking” was assembly of canapés from stuff we had lying around, liberally seasoned with freshly ground pepper:

  • leftover cornbread adorned with horseradish sauce, roast beef, red onions and parsley
  • leftover cucumber slices from a salad earlier in the week, spread with harissa and topped with sliced fresh jalapeños
  • hummus packed into celery bites sprinkled with a spicy olive/garlic/bell pepper garnish (like olive salad)

Easy-peasy!

A Great Way to Spend Friday Evening

The Grill-Meister wanted red wine and I was in the mood for white, so we threw caution to the wind and opened them both (don’t judge, it was Friday).  Sipping wine and enjoying a throw-together smorgasbord meal while reviewing The Week That Was and The Weekend to Come is a great way to spend a Friday evening – who wants to spend it in the kitchen?  And of course we didn’t eat all that cheese, paving the way for another smorgasbord soon, maybe even this Friday.

What will you be doing for dinner this Friday night?

Family Smorgasbord Night – No Cooking, Just Bonding

For more about our favorite Friday night no-cook, easy-peasy approach, see the original post below.  Click here for the story, including the history of smorgasbord.

Smorgasbord at the Game Room Bar
Smorgasbord at the Game Room Bar

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Glover Gardens Radishes with Pesto-Butter and Coarse Sea Salt

Radishes have a nice, bitter bite and are a perfect quick appetizer when paired with butter and salt.  Supposedly it’s a French thing, but I first had this simple pleasure when visiting friends who hail from East Texas.  The Williams-Sonoma recipe looks like what my friends served and has only three ingredients:  whipped butter, radishes and sea salt.

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Click for the classic recipe from Williams-Sonoma

I like simple, and I like sea salt, but I think the butter is better on a radish when it is kicked up a bit.  With garlicky pesto.  It’s more like an Italian thing.

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Glover Gardens Radishes with Pesto-Butter and Course Sea Salt

Ingredients (serves 4-6 as an appetizer)

  • 12 radishes
  • 1 tbsp. pesto
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 2 tsp. coarse sea salt

Instructions

Wash and trim radishes of roots, leaving the stems on.  Mix pesto and butter.  Put sea salt in a small dish.  Arrange radishes, pesto-butter and salt on a platter and serve.


This super-simple, super-fresh, super-garlicky, super-good appetizer is just right when you’ve got a big, heavy piece of meat roasting on the grill.  But it’s also really good as part of an autumn dinner in advance of a hearty soup accompanied by crusty bread.

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Quick& Elegant Appetizer – Belgian Endive with Brie & Grapes

Sometimes, in the long, hot summer, you just want to throw together a quick appetizer.

I love Belgian endive for its usefulness as a “delivery device”; you can put all sorts of yummy things in it, and it’s a finger food.

Belgian endive is great when filled with:

  • Belgian Endive & Brie Appetizer
    Belgian Endive with Brie & Grapes by the pool – a great way to start off a summer dinner

    herbed goat cheese

  • blue cheese, dried fruit and honey
  • spicy pimento cheese and green onions
  • ham spread and pickles
  • chopped chicken and Pico de Gallo
  • bacon and shredded smoked gouda
  • smoked salmon, capers, chopped red onion and sour cream
  • many, many more – the possibilities are endless

This evening my son arrived home from University of North Texas Jazz Camp and I wanted to make a special appetizer to welcome him back.  It took just a few minutes to throw this appetizer together.  The recipe below serves 3, but you can double, triple or quadruple as appropriate.

Belgian Endive & Brie with Grapes

Ingredients

  • 1 head of Belgian endive
  • Brie (only a small amount, perhaps a remnant from another night)
  • About a tablespoon of chopped nuts (I used toasted pecans, but don’t be constrained by that – cashews, pistachios, even honey-roasted peanuts would be good)
  • 1/8 cup of your favorite jam or jelly (kick it up with a spicy one, if you like)
  • Basil or other herb for garnish, roughly chopped
  • Red grapes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions
Wash the endive and cut the end off, then separate the leaves.  You may need to cut the end off again after removing the first few leaves.  Cut small pieces of Brie so that you end up with the same number of Brie pieces as you have endive leaves.  Put a very small dollop of jam in the base of each endive leave, then a piece of Brie, then another drop of the jam (for color).  Arrange on a plate with small bunches of grapes.  Garnish with chopped nuts and herbs, then add salt and pepper to taste.


I really love to use flavorful jams and jellies in my cooking.  We have a marvelous farmer’s market in our town (see Tomball Farmer’s Market), and one of the vendors every week is Just Pure Flavors.  They are always making up a batch of something new and wonderful, which leads me to make up different recipes to use all of my jam and jelly impulse buys.  It’s a symbiotic relationship.

Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Antipasto Fresca

Only a half hour’s notice that guests are coming and in need of an appetizer?  These fun little finger food treats can be pulled together in ten minutes.  At Glover Gardens, we have two of the ingredients always on hand – the oregano and the tomatoes.  In the summer, they are abundant in the garden, and in the winter, we buy imports from warmer climates and dream of spring.

This is a perfect appetizer for a wine tasting party, an outdoor barbecue or even a ladies’ afternoon tea.

Ingredients
12-14 grape tomatoes, sliced in half sideways
1-2 oz. mozzarella fresca, cut in 12-14 small chunks to sandwich within the tomatoes
2 green onions, cut in 1/4 diagonal slivers
4 long sprigs fresh oregano
Course sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Antipasto Caprese
Antipasto Fresca

Cooking Instructions
Thread half of a grape tomato onto a toothpick, followed by a large oregano leaf, a segment of the mozzarella, then the second half of the tomato. Finish the mini-skewer by adding a green onion section to the end. Repeat with the rest of the tomatoes and arrange on a small serving plate. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil, the sprinkle with sea salt and several grindings of fresh black pepper. Garnish with some of the remaining fresh oregano.

Copyright 2015, Glover Gardens Cookbook