So working from home is slowly growing on me. When I say slowly, I mean not at all. I typically spend the first half hour after my husband comes home from work complaining that I am lonely, I hate conference calls, and that I hate being by myself all day. (This of course excludes the time I spend with Paula Deen, which is divine.) My husband, being the compassionate man that he is, told me to get over it, stop complaining, and have people over for lunch. So I planned on a date and sent a note to the ladies in my hood and a few friends.

I was so proud of myself the day before the lunch, because while on a work trip to Chicago I was able to secure some kick ass Leonora Spanish goat cheese and some Italian Pecorino-Romano from Pastoral Cheese Shop. I was about to kiss the guy at the cheese counter for giving me a taste of the Leonora, which was super bright and citrusy versus being super goaty and tangy. Things were great. And then…

I had quite possibly the most horrible travel experience ever. I arrived at O’Hare and found out my flight was cancelled. While I am arguing with the ticket agent that what he was saying was nonsense and look outside, you freak, it’s not even raining, an announcement came over the PA that we needed to move from all windows because a tornado was going to hit. So I ended up huddled with 50 other people in the restroom, trying to play it cool, reading on my Nook. What haven’t I seen in New York, right? Juggling homeless person singing and milking a cow simultaneously? Check. Skateboarders tattooing each other while asking you if you want to save the rain forests? Check. The only thing I haven’t seen in New York is a …tornado. And it was actually pretty scary. Long story short, I left on a ridiculously early flight the next day, but was determined to go on with the lunch. Because damn it, I wasn’t going to let my cheese spoil. I  have my priorities in check.

Considering my flight experience, I did a few things that would be easy to make with very little sleep.

The Menu:

  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Goat Cheese and Leek Tart
  • Mixed Greens Salad with Vinaigrette

Strawberry Lemonade

You will need:

  • 1 bottle of pre-made lemonade (I like Simply Lemonade)
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 3 stems of mint
  • vodka, to taste (What, you thought at a Ladies’ lunch there would be no alcohol? You clearly don’t know me.)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and let chill for at least 3 hours. If the lemonade is too sour, add simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, heated to dissolve the sugar)

Goat Cheese and Leek Tart

The recipe for this tart is here.

I wanted to take a second to talk about cooking with goat cheese. When one thinks of using goat cheese, you are usually thinking of a rindless, very fresh, creamy log of a goat cheese. However, in cooking, it can be great to use a more aged cheese to add more complexity to your dish. For this tart, I used a Spanish goat cheese, Leonora. As you can see above, it has a rind. While you can use the rind, I recommend not, unless you want lumpy bits of cheese junk in your tart. This is intended to be a smooth filling. What’s interesting is that the more aged the cheese, the more the flavors mellow out, and you get less of that tangy goat cheese flavor. So my point here is that it is totally fine to use a rinded goat cheese (or any cheese, for that matter)  to cook with if you remove the rind. 

Mixed Greens Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar ( I used Sherry vinegar and it was just as good.)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press (I love garlic, so add to your liking.)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients and chill before tossing, 1 tablespoon at a time, with salad. The above recipe is for more than just one salad serving. Add enough to coat and store the rest in an airtight container or jar in the fridge.

We had a great time at the lunch. I forgot my travel debacle, and I realized that maybe there are a few people in my neighborhood that are almost as cool as me. Okay, Kirti is pretty damn cool. So we’ll call it even.

Enjoy!

~ Dana

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