When I'm hosting friends and family, I definitely like to keep things simple, and I like to plan ahead. I hate rushing around like a madperson before or after people come over; I'd rather have gotten everything ready and anticipated all contingencies ahead of time.
As a guest, my favorite get-togethers are also times when the hosts are comfortable and enjoying themselves as much as I am. This was certainly true one evening last year, when I was visiting my friends Gretchen and Mike. They are great hosts, with a deep wine cellar (including a refrigerator drawer just for bubbly wines, when they know I'm on my way) and a knack for delicious snacks, great cheeses, and delightful appetizers. It's with them that I first had my first Pimm's cocktail, my first Tête de Moine cheese. An evening with them is like an evening of ahhhhhhh.
On this particular evening, Gretchen shared with us an appetizer which she'd had with her wonderful friend Tan. Tan lives in Las Vegas, and I've had the good fortune of getting to know her and her family from the visits I've made with Gretchen when she's producing trade shows in Las Vegas. A few years ago, Tan made us one of the best pasta meals I've ever had...but I digress.
So: radishes. Tan and Gretchen put out a simple array of four ingredients: sliced baguette, butter, very thinly sliced radishes, and sea salt. That's it. To assemble the app, you simply put them together in that order, and enjoy. I spent about half an hour exclaiming over them and trying to figure out why they're so good, but they somehow are. Just so good.
Wine pairing suggestion: Riesling.
So cheers to good friends, relaxed hosts, and the sharing of simple pleasures!