Last night I made another summer dinner party, and given how hot it has been I worked very hard to try to figure out what to make so that I can not have the oven on for any longer then I have to. Lasagna may seem like not the best idea, but its a crowd pleaser and I find it’s delicious at any temperature. I made mine two hours before took it out when it was cooked and returned it to the still warm oven to re-heat about a half an hour before I served it.
I make my own pasta which is what I believe makes all the difference in the world. In this case it was a very straight up tomato, noodles and cheese affair. I always like to do one layer with Ricotta which lately I have been adding a cup or so of Basil to (along with salt, pepper and 2 large eggs).
The big hit of the evening where a variation of the soft cooked hard-boiled eggs I made last week. The only difference this was I put a dollop of garlic mayo on each egg half and topped it with a chunk of anchovy.
The antipasto platter had in addition to the eggs, homemade guacamole (chips) spice mixed olives, local tomatoes in wedges with lots of fresh basil, olive oil, Balsamic and sea salt.
My favorite, as always, was desert. I made a simple Almond Cake which was topped with stewed Sour Cherries and home-made vanilla ice cream. By the time I pitted, stemmed and sorted the 3 pounds of sour cherries, they weighed in at 2 1/2 pounds.
I placed them in a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat with 1 Cup and 2 Tablespoons of sugar and cooked them for about 10 minutes, when the cherries soften and start to break down I added a thickener. In this case I used Organic Corn Starch (1 Tablespoon) which I whisked with a Tablespoon or so of Kirsch and added it to the cherries, making sure to stir the cherries to prevent lumping. If you want your stewed cherries thicker feel free to add more cornstarch, just don’t add it directly or you will get lumps. I also added an optional splash of balsamic, but don’t over do it.
Remember when tasting for sweetness you have to taste a cherry with the sauce, the sauce is going to be sweeter and the cherry sour – you are looking for the balance that works for you.