Though I can get a little, um, over-anxious about food when entertaining, my mental energy level last night required a strategy shift for the sake of sanity, so this time I went with a  “let the food do the work” theme. I didn’t even run to the grocery. If I didn’t have it, it wasn’t going in. With 60 minutes to work, what might our fridge produce?

First course was corn soup (blend some corn kernels with a bit of milk and add salt and pepper and fresh chives on top–thank you, garden supply!), the last three carrots in the drawer cut into sticks with the left over basil dressing “artfully” drizzled over top (skip complex preparation and hide beneath the mask of presentation!), and orange tomatoes sliced with oil, vinegar, basil, scallions, and a dash of Hawaiian black salt (knew that would come in handy for something). For the main, I grabbed the left over roasted eggplant and onions (yay, already roasted! oven remains off, house temp remains reasonable), a bunch of swiss chard, and a cup of chick peas and cooked them with some garden garlic (my normal stash was empty and there they were, hanging all nice and dry in the basement!) and some tomato paste and curry powder. Tossed over pasta with a few toasted pine nuts (a little burnt–ooops!), some parsley, and a sprinkle of cheese. Bam!

M brought the wine. We didn’t even get to the leftover birthday cake from Rebecca’s party. Damn.

I have to say that the little backyard garden really helps when it comes to summer cooking, even though it doesn’t seem like much when you look at it. I’m finally figuring out how not to waste the food I get at the market every week, which has been a huge learning curve for me for some reason.  Also, doing dumb things like adding a blue tortilla chip on the side of the soup bowl with a spoon full of that tomatillo salsa gave things a kind of fanciness without much investment.

I’m not working today, so I’m thinking about bottling the wine. Stay dry everyone!

BONUS tip: How to defrost (and probably cook!)  your frozen farmers’ market corn for unexpected dinner guests on a 90 degree day:*

*This method is probably not USDA approved. I’m also pretty sure my mother would faint.