Monday, July 2, 2012

Collaboration Meals



Summertime-
a season when our meals center around produce – what we find at the farmer's market.

Oftentimes melon, corn on the cob and tomatoes are at center stage.

Getting together with friends is also a favorite aspect of summer supper.  We like it especially when it's casual and easy. One of my favorite ways to share meals with friends is by having what we call A Collaboration Meal.

What's a collaboration meal, you ask?  A Collaboration Meal, which we sometimes call a hodge podge,  or Yours Mine Ours,  is when we get together with friends, bring whatever we have on hand from each of our kitchens, and put it together to make a feast.  One might confuse this with People's Choice, which I wrote about a while back, and it has some similar qualities, but the collaborative aspect of this usually yields a far more exciting menu.  There is something more delicious about eating food that someone else bought or prepared.
our Tapas night- turkey meatballs, garlic pastries from trader Joe's, bruschetta, and a fruity green salad


We have a couple of friends with whom we have done quite a lot of collaborating and have had some great meals as a result.
The planning of these Collaboration Meals goes something like this:
The friend and I are talking on the phone.

Me: Let's have dinner on Thursday night.
Friend: What should we have?
Me: Well, what do you have on hand that we can use as a starting point?
Friend:Let's see...(peering into the fridge) I have 3 turkey burgers,
Me: I have 4 hotdogs,
Friend: I have 3 buns,
Me: oh, I have 5 sandwich rounds, which can work.
fries in the making
Friend: I have some potatoes and can make some fries,
Me: I have some fruit to make a salad,
Friend: Oh, I have some apples, I think.  And I saw a recipe in everyday food magazine for this great dessert I want to try but not sure if my kids would like it.
Me: Oh, make that and I'll bring the cookie dough I have in my fridge to make some choc. chip cookies for the kids.
Friend: Sounds great! We'll come at 4:30!

Done and done! The plan is in place.  And you never can predict what the final product will be, but it almost all of the time exceeds our expectations!  And the sum is always better than the parts.


Sometimes it is more thematic- like "Pasta Your Way" (a couple of different pastas with different sauces, veggies, etc.)


or Tapas night (appetizers as a meal)


and sometimes it's Open Grill (sticking whatever we have that might be grill-able on the grill and serve a smorgasbord).

barley salad
One night we created a Southwestern Salad with tilapia.  We put together our collective greens and lettuces, a ripe avocado and beautiful tomato and my left over texas caviar and brown rice and tortilla chips.  We whipped up some southwestern ranch dressing (out of sour cream, ranch dressing and some salsa) and grilled the tilapia that we spiced up a bit with lime, garlic, cumin, and salt.  My friend brought ingredients over to make a very yummy cornmeal raspberry crumble and it was a delightful feast!

I remember another night we made Kale Chips (because I had been wanting to make them and wished for a partner to venture with me), a few turkey burgers, a few chicken sausages, barley salad that I had made the day before, leftover orzo salad from a couple of days before, a ripe avocado, "s'mores bark"–  (all out of things we each had in our kitchens).


sauteed veggies pitched in between us - for pasta night
Pasta Your Way
Pasta MyWay

We had pasta night last week, where we boiled a couple of types of pasta, made a marinara sauce, sauteed some veggies and prepped some raw veggies and fruit for the kids and dinner was served! 


So, call a friend and look into your freezer, fridge, pantry, fruit bowl...dig deep, as I say, and have a friend do the same. Talk it out and dream up a meal.  It doesn't have to be perfect or even logical.  Sometimes the quirky meals are when we discover new tasty combinations! And it feels so rewarding to use what you have to make a feast.  How resourceful and responsible!

Do you have fun ideas to share with us about how you collaborate to create easy, yummy meals with people?  Please share your ideas with us!





2 comments:

  1. Let's see, I have 2 zucchini, bag of new potatoes, pasta, and apples. :) I love collaborating meals! That barley salad looks yummy!

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  2. :) Yes...let's do it! I love collaborating with you and your ingredients!

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