As I flew back to Atlanta yesterday, the pilot turned the plane in such a way that I could see the huddled masses on the National Mall. I expected to have guilt about being in DC during inauguration weekend but not attending any inauguration-related events. But, for the first time in my self-flaggelating Jewish life, there was no guilt. Because, despite my lack of Obamamania (not because I don’t dig him, but because it was too damn cold for all of that mess), I had one kickass weekend.
There was too much awesomeness to recount here. The highlights included dinners at Proof and Ray’s Hell Burger (both to be detailed in future posts), beers with friends at Wonderland Ballroom, my first Pizzeria Paradiso experience, being a diva and having a dear friend bring me donuts to fight my wicked hangover, psychology at work at the Reef with three fascinating men, splurging at Denim Bar while strangers commented on my ass, and pounding beers while discussing the finer points of birthday cake with nuts (don’t ask). The piece de resistance, however, had to be cooking with Lemmonex on a chilly Saturday night.
We batted around a lot of ideas for our tandem kitchen adventure, including pie crusts (shot down because of a too-small food processor) and sushi (shot down because the trek to Blacksalt would have been too long and too cold). Then the perfect idea hit us–let’s balance out all of our shopping and expensive boozing by making a budget meal! I was responsible for the appetizer, and Lem was in charge of the main course (which you can read about on Culinary Couture today).
I chose to prepare a multicultural starter, and I wanted to keep everything under $10. As you can see, I didn’t quite hit that mark, but I still think that three types of bruschetta (which, all total, would serve at least 20 people) for under $20 is a success. For the toast base, you can either buy them pre-made or just slice a baguette (make sure you have a serrated knife, though…ahem). You may balk at these apps because they contain things like canned beans and frozen corn, but the fresh ingredients are so flavorful that you can keep costs down where it’s possible. I really loved the Greek version (though I wish I had remembered to add fresh dill), but I think Lem’s favorite was the Mexican. They were all pretty darn satisfying.
So, while I had to leave DC without getting spooned by the city’s hottest foodie, at least I left with these yummy bruschetta in my repertoire. And Lem, I cannot WAIT until you come to Atlanta…the city won’t know what hit it.
“Around The World” Bruschetta
Traditional Italian: 2 slicing tomatoes (diced), 1 clove garlic (finely chopped). Mix and spoon onto toast, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Total cost: $4.89, plus tax.
Greek: 1 can garbanzo beans (drained and “rustically mashed”), 1 8 oz. container plain Greek yogurt, 1 cucumber (peeled and diced), salt and pepper to taste. Mix and spoon onto toast, then drizzle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Total cost: $5.52, plus tax.
Hot Mexican: About 1/2 can of black beans (drained), about 1/2 bag frozen yellow corn (cooked according to package directions and cooled), 1/2 red onion (diced), 1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. Mix and spoon onto toast, then cover with shredded pepper jack cheese and place under broiler until melted. Total cost: $7.25, plus tax.