Something From Nothing

I have often mentioned the magic of cooking, the sheer joy of making something delicious from almost nothing...a handful of this, a pinch of that. Nothing seems more fun or sometimes more satisfying. It is also, for me a bit of a thrill- feeling like a contestant on one of those cooking shows where the chefs, with the clock ticking, compete to come up with a dish from a limited supply of ingredients. The only thing I am competing against is usually only the clock and my own standards of wanting to make something special for me or my guests. Last month, after a very busy day attending to my long list of errands and a few surprises, we were expecting a few folks over for tea during graduation weekend in Chapel Hill. Our guests were first time visitors to the US from Morocco.

I had picked up some local cheeses and crackers the day before, but thought, at the last minute that I wanted to offer a little more. And, because I was leaving soon for my northward trek, I had a lot “orphans”- leftovers and potentially inspiring little snippets of food in the fridge.

                                                                                        odds and ends

There was an apple, some roasted chicken breast, a cucumber and a half container of some spicy coconut hummus. I remembered my little supply of soft chewy ginger cookies in the pantry. This is what I came up with and a photo of the results.

Impromptu Menu for Tea

Cucumbers Slices with Curried Coconut Hummus and Roast Chicken Breast

Nibbles:  Almonds, Dry roasted Chickpeas, Olives

Goat Lady Dairy Cheese and Crackers

Chewy Ginger Bread Triangles

Fresh Fruit Platter

Menu for Tea

 As you can see, these simple, ordinary foods also benefitted from a nice arrangement on some platters that showed off their color and textures. The selection was welcoming and just right for a delightful afternoon visit. And I was feeling pretty smug about meeting the challenge of making something totally satisfying from nothing.










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