Monday, February 21, 2011

The Houston Supper Club

One of the best things about getting together with friends are the dinner parties. Good music, good food and, of course, good company. One of my favorite dinner parties was New Years Eve 2010, with my Dallas best friend Brenda, her husband and our college friend Ben. We drank wine, chatted about anything, everything and sat down for the best cooked steak, topped with a delicious mushroom sauce and a warm spinach salad on the side. It was quite simply the best way to end the year. And then in true Texas fashion, we got all gussied up and went out for a night on the town to ring in the New Year.

The table, all set for dinner
Ashley, my Houston best friend, has been a faithful follower of this very blog right from the beginning. So when I finally took her up on her generous offer to come visit, she made me promise that I'd at least make my short ribs. I decided to throw in my brussel sprouts as well. And then, for some 2010 nostalgia, I made Brenda's warm bacon spinach salad.
Bringing the pretty little lady some flowers
Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
8 ounces baby spinach
2 large eggs- we optioned out this one
6 pieces bacon- I like the center cut, it crisps up really well
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
5 Tbl olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
4-6 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 small shallot diced
1 c roasted pecans- you can candy these as well

1. Wash, drain and pat the spinach until thoroughly dry. Place into a large mixing bowl.

2. Hard boil the eggs, peel and then slice each hard boiled egg into 4 quarters, lengthwise, and set aside. While the eggs are cooking, fry the bacon and remove to a paper towel to drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

3. Transfer the fat to a small saucepan set over low heat and whisk in the balsamic vinegar, sugar and Dijon mustard. Add shallots. Season with a small pinch each of salt and black pepper.

4. Add the mushrooms and pecans to the spinach and toss. Add the dressing and bacon and toss to combine. Divide the spinach between 4 plates or bowls and evenly divide the egg among them. Season with pepper, as desired. Serve immediately.
Dancing the night away
If you haven't already figured this out 2010 wasn't the best year for me, but as they say the things that happened happened for a reason. While it didn't make a lot of sense at the time, what has resulted has made me realize just how amazing and supportive my friends are. How lucky I am to have them to call when life sucks, and how quick they are to root for me when something amazing happens. They may not be right around the corner but it's not all that often that I feel like they are really that far away. And for what it's worth, what has resulted thus far in 2011 has been very promising indeed, all thanks to friends and family and life just moving on and up.
Pretty girls, about to ring in 2011. I am the luckiest girl, with the best of friends

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