You know you’re in love when it downpours on the day of your engagement party with 25 friends coming to you house, and it still feels like the sun is shining in all the right places.
Life has been busy (can anyone relate?) these past few months, and Jim and I have not been good at pulling together a dinner party on any regular basis.
Side note: Time is an interesting thing, isn’t it? Don’t laugh, but one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to “master time.” Yes, somehow I have this glimmer of hope that it’s possible to enjoy life and all those opportunities that come our way with a grace and ease that make it seem as though there’s always enough time.
Despite the many days when I feel anything but graceful, this past weekend got me in one of those busy yet timelessness modes. On the night before the party, my two chef buddies, Jeremy and Sim, came over to help start the food prep. I had designed a fun menu featuring kabobs, spanakopita, lots of fun salads (see one of my favorites below), homemade grape leaves, roasted beets with chèvre—the list went on.
Cooking with others is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. Not only does it make the workload seem lighter, but it also means that the layers of flavor in the food naturally take on more depth. The best part was the stress-free feeling of it all. Even after Jeremy and Sim had to leave and there was still a lot to do, Jim and I simply settled in and, step by step, got it all done…except for what we didn’t. A few things were left to finish up the next day, and one dish just didn’t make the final cut. (After all, I needed to save time for a manicure before the party.)
The next day, as we lay around in post-party bliss (partly because the party was so fun and the food great, and partly because somehow all the dishes were done by the time the last guest had left!), we reflected on the weekend as the model for how we wanted to live our lives. Here is what we learned:
1. Plan something fun.
2. Ask for help from friends.
3. Take one step at a time.
4. Change plans when necessary to make room for a manicure.
5. Everything is better when in love.
Hope you enjoy this recipe for Three Sisters Salad. Luckily, we made enough so that we enjoyed it for days after the party.
Three Sisters Salad
Makes enough for 4–6
2–3 cobs of corn
1 ½ cups cooked or canned cannellini beans
2 cups small diced yams
¼ cup small diced red onion
½ teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Begin by roasting the corn and yams. Remove corn from the cob. Toss corn and yams separately each with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of the salt, black pepper to taste, and half each of the paprika. Place in a baking pan and bake at 450 degrees for 10–12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and a little browned.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Toss corn and yams with the cannellini beans, red onion, and cilantro. Combine the remaining olive oil, lime juice, salt, and paprika and toss into vegetables.
Adjust seasoning to your taste. Serve immediately. Leftovers can last for up to five days in the refrigerator.