Chips, a good Saison, and one of my favorite burgers in Seattle. The makings of a mighty fine party.
We’re in countdown mode. Some of us are counting down the remaining days of summer that lead to the first day of school with eagerness and delight and then there are others in our house who aren’t. It’s the time of year where we are packing in as much summer into our days as we can and remembering some of our favorite memories from the past three months.
Right now the novelty of those cool, gray days sounds inviting and cozy but enough of those and I’ll be thinking back with great longing to our sun-kissed shoulders and noses as we spent all day at the beach where I showed Roman how to body surf and let little crabs wriggle in between our fingers. And our recent three days sleeping under the stars and ate a sort of camping-style Grand Aioli with dirt under our fingernails and the sound of the waves lapping at the beach as our dinner soundtrack. I’ll long for the laziness of our days where we slept in until the sun peaking through the shades woke us up rather than our alarm clocks. Where “boredom” led us to many trips to the library and helped us discover a new-found love of weaving and yarn arts in general.
Oh you know, just drinking beer and eating delicious (and spicy!) chips. One of my favorite pastimes.
Skillet’s Fried Chicken and Kale Sandwich with a side of mac and cheese topped with FSTG mulitgrain chips. A perfect pair.
Close to the top of our summer highlight list sits a recent block party that I hosted along with Food Should Taste Good. They believe in crafting better snacks and I can’t help but agree. We also both agree that flavor is king but that doesn’t mean that real and wholesome ingredients need to go out the door. They are committed to making great tasting snacks with real, simple ingredients and they also believe in bringing together people who have a passion for real, good food. That’s why they asked me to partner with them to host a summer soiree in my own backyard.
They looked to me to create the block party of my dreams and we did just that. Friends and local bloggers filled the patio at Hilliard’s while the Skillet Street Food truck was nearby. Because when you ask me to host a party beer, fried chicken, and chips are a must.
Gabe was there to capture the evening filled with laughter, new friends, old friends, great food, amazing beer and so much merriment that made me fall even deeper in love with this little community of ours.
Grilled peaches. The answer is always grilled peaches.
My tip: Start with the Pilsner, then move on to the Saison. The finish off whatever is in your husband’s glass.
I love gathering together new and old friends. Food gets us there, relationships keep us here.
Molasses BBQ pulled pork chips w/ FSTG Sweet Potato Chips
All of the above photos were taken by my uber-talented husband, Gabe Rodriguez.
We still have a few more summer memories to add to our list. This week we’re welcoming family and friends to our home as we throw open the front door and ask them to help us warm our new home. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the menu has already been planned and you can be sure the Hot Arugula Dip is on there.
We all know Spinach Dip but I am such a fan of Arugula that I use it in spinach’s place. In return there is a bit of peppery heat and more complexity to the dip. It’s not much of a looker but when hot cheese and chips are involved vanity is a silly thing to worry about.
I hope your summer is making a graceful exit as it’s mixed with a bit of “Yay! You’re almost gone!” and “Oh please don’t go!” Happy memories, a bit of longing for more but excitement about what’s ahead. I think it’s the best way to see something off.
Hot Arugula Dip
Serves 8-10 (as an appetizer)
2 tablespoons butter
½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic gloves, minced
8 oz arugula, washed, dried and tough stems removed
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
dash of hot sauce
2 dashes worcestershire sauce
4 ounces grated gruyere cheese
Pita chips or crackers, for dipping
Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Grease a small baking dish with butter.
In a large saute pan over medium low heat, add butter, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Saute for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add arugula, in batches as needed, sprinkling with salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Allow to wilt and cook down. Once wilted, transfer mixture to a bowl.
Warm milk in the same pan, over medium heat. Mix in cream cheese and allow to melt. Add back onions and arugula. Season with black pepper, dashes of hot sauce and worcestershire sauce. Slowly stir in gruyere cheese, about ½ cup at a time and allow to slowly melt.
Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake on the top rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
Serve warm with chips such as Food Should Taste Good Multigrain or Jalapeno Chips or sliced baguette.
*This post was sponsored by Food Should Taste Good because I can’t help but agree. Check out their family of great tasting food on their site and Facebook page.