My lovely friend Andi and her friend Rebekah have been posting all about their totally wonderful Dinner at Eight project. Of course I wanted to jump in, too, so last night I put together a special dinner for Karl. Today he started his one-year intensive nursing program, so Dinner at Eight was a good way to celebrate that new beginning and send him off to his first day well fed and feeling loved. Even though the official Dinner at Eight theme for the month is picnics, I went with an Italian theme. We'll just say it was an indoor, Italian picnic, okay? Karl loves Italian food, and I had been hoarding a few little treasures from our trip to Italy this spring and I just couldn't wait to use them.
Sunday was a pretty busy day, so I decided to make the main dish in the slow cooker. Many thanks to this cookbook, the kitchen smelled delicious all day and we ended up with amazing Balsamic Glazed Short Ribs. p.s. I took most of these pictures during the getting-ready stage (I knew I'd forget to take pictures during the meal!).
I set the table with paper placemats from our favorite restaurant in Florence (Who am I kidding? They were all our favorite.) and candle lanterns I recently snagged on clearance at Crate & Barrel.
We started off the meal with two appetizers. One was honeydew melon and prosciutto, a favorite from our Italy trip.
The other was caprese salad, with tomatoes and basil straight from the garden.
Who could say no to tortellini? This little bag was imported (in my backpack) and stashed in the freezer until now.
The slow-cooked ribs knocked our socks off. Karl said they were the best ribs he's ever had, and I think he might have been serious. Lucky for him, there are leftovers in the fridge!
For dessert, I considered making tiramisu, but gelato won out in the end. Mainly because I wanted to use the little gelato cups and spoons I secretly brought home. We had pistachio and dark chocolate, which also happened to be our favorites in Italy.
After dinner, I gave Karl a little back-to-school gift, an electric kettle. He loves to use the French press to make coffee in the morning, so this will get him off to a quick start!
As you probably know, I love projects and themes, so this Dinner at Eight will likely not be the last at the Struckmeyer house! Thanks to Rebekah and Andi for the inspiration!