Last night we went to my parents house for dinner. When I called my mom to ask what we were having she said so many things had looked good at the farmer's market and the grocery store that dinner had turned into a kind of tapas party. She asked if I'd mind helping get everything ready when we got there, and of course I had no problem with that.
During the week I'd gotten some beets at the farmer's market near my office, so I made a beet and goat cheese salad:
... with a shallot and lemon vinaigrette over spicy arugula. The bitterness of the arugula paired nicely with the sweet beets and tangy goat cheese. My mom got beautiful tomatoes from her local farmer's market so she cut them up with some fresh mozzarella and basil for a simple salad:
Next up were some baby red and Yukon gold potatoes, which we halved and put in a cast-iron pan to cook slowly until they were tender and slightly caramelized. I seasoned them with thyme from my garden and rosemary from my mom's garden, along with salt and pepper:
My step-father got a pound of gorgeous fresh-caught shrimp at the local seafood market. Lately my parents have loved cooking shrimp in anchovy butter so that's what I did:
The shrimp were perfectly cooked until bursty, with a fantastic salty nuttiness from the anchovies. We had a few on toothpicks while we sat out on the deck with our cocktails before coming inside for the rest of the meal. My plate, starting at the top and going clockwise:
...potatoes, half a queso tamale, beet salad, tomato salad and anchovy shrimp. My step-father also grilled some burgers for sliders (mini hamburgers):
I had mine with just ketchup and mayo and it was perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of char to let the flavor of the beef shine through. For dessert I'd made cupcakes:
We all know I'm not a baker, so in the interest of full disclosure these were made with Duncan Hines boxed cake mix and frosting. I have to say, though, that these were some of the moistest, lightest cupcakes I've made in a long time. I always buy whatever cake mix is on sale, which is rarely Duncan Hines, but I think I prefer this brand. Everyone said how much they loved the texture and flavor. Quite impressive, for pre-packaged ingredients.