Along with the hummus, I put together a cheese platter. We love buying small pieces of cheese from the Whole Foods residual bin. If you don't know about this, Whole Foods wraps up the small pieces of cheese that are left over after chopping up a block and puts them in a bin in the refrigerated section close to the cheese counter. It's a great way to try new cheeses without committing to an entire block or spending $12.
We received, as a housewarming gift from my favorite cousin - shout-out to you, Krissy ;-) - a slate cheeseboard with two pieces of soapstone chalk. This is a FABULOUS gift idea for any wine & cheese lover... because it allows you to plate the cheese and write down what you are serving. I find this helpful as both a host (because I won't be asked a thousand times what cheeses these are) and as a guest (because I can easily remember a cheese I like/dislike). Here's a photo of the cheese plate I put together for our little appy party... we had "Vampire Slayer" (a cow's milk cheese with lots of garlic and some herbs) as well as a pepper cheese (I can't remember if this was cow or goat milk, however black pepper was throughout as well as coating the outside). The Bellavitano was so delicious and creamy - a quick favorite and definite repurchase for us.
For our entree, I baked halibut pieces with the skin on (though, feel free to have the store skin them). You simply rinse them off, pat 'em dry, and lay them in a greased Pyrex dish (I use PAM). Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper, then top them with some butter (you can melt it and brush it on, but I just cut up some pieces and plopped them on top to melt in the oven). When you're ready (aka- the sauce is done) put the Pyrex in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes... check to make sure the inside of the fish is white when you take it out.
For the sauce... you'll need onion, garlic, butter, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, white wine, 28 oz. can San Marzano whole tomatoes (these are worth the price, I promise!), capers, and some spices of your choosing.
- Circle a saute pan with olive oil twice around and heat on med-low. Add a tab of butter when the pan is hot.
- Chop up some onion (I cut three rings from my Vidalia onion and chopped up that) and toss it in the pan to start cooking.
- As the onion softens, roughly chop some garlic (I like big pieces) and add it to the pan when the onions have become translucent.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and mix this around so it all cooks evenly.
- As the garlic begins to turn golden-brown add some white wine to the pan and allow the alcohol to evaporate.
- Next, pour in the entire 28 oz. can of San Marzano whole tomatoes. Don't worry [yet] about breaking up the tomatoes, as they cook they will soften and naturally break up - or it can be easily done with a fork.
- Add in about a tablespoon of drained capers.
- At this point, I put in a bay leaf and some dried oregano. I let this cook and simmer for a while on med-low heat (a 3 on a 10-point knob).
- Periodically mix the ingredients to ensure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pan, and press down on the tomatoes with a fork to help break them up.
Must give credit, where credit is due... thank you, Mommy for this delicious recipe! You are the inspiration behind all of my cooking :)