This weekend I've invited my seven very best friends to join me at my vacation house in the Sierra Nevada mountains. We'll watch movies, go wine tasting in Murphys, and indulge in nonstop good eats. Naturally I'm planning the menu. Two of my gal pals are pesceterians (they don't eat meat, but will consume seafood), so the food will be vegetarian-friendly. After the long car ride to the cabin, the girls will be hungry for a hearty, soothing meal. An Italian-style vegetable soup served with olive cheese bread is filling and scrumptious. The following morning we'll eat store-bought bagels and cream cheese before we hit up the local wineries for lunch. Saturday night will be "make your own pizza" night.
Each girl can grab a ball of Trader Joe's pizza dough and choose from a variety of toppings — crumbled sausage, prosciutto, caramelized onions, pesto, kalamata olives, mushrooms, roasted red peppers — to make an individual pie. A simple green salad with Dijon vinaigrette finishes up the menu.
Sunday morning we'll have a leisurely brunch featuring a potato and leek frittata paired with oven-crisped bacon. For these recipes, which are perfect for enjoying with your friends and family on any Winter weekend, read more.
Ingredients 1 9-oz. package frozen cut green beans Directions Serves 6.
Italian Vegetable Soup
1/2 of a 16-oz. package frozen cauliflower
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1/2 cup sliced celery (1 stalk)
1/4 cup regular barley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1-1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable juice
1/4 cup purchased pesto (optional)
Finely shredded Parmesean cheese (optional)
1 9-oz. package frozen cut green beans
From Gourmet Ingredients 4 teaspoons Sherry vinegar Directions Serves 8.
Mixed Green Salad With Tarragon Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 lb frisée (French curly endive), torn into bite-size pieces
1 head Boston lettuce (1 lb), torn into bite-size pieces
1 bunch arugula (1/2 lb), coarse stems discarded
1 bunch watercress (1/2 lb), coarse stems discarded
4 teaspoons Sherry vinegar
From Food and Wine Ingredients 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled (3/4 pound) Directions Serves 8.
Yukon Gold Potato, Leek, and Fromage Blanc Frittata
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks, white and tender green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
4 ounces fromage blanc or crumbled feta cheese (1 cup)
From Food and Wine
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled (3/4 pound)