Dinner Party

I had some friends over for dinner this week and wanted to use up a bunch of veggies but also cook something comfortable and easy after a long day at work and a busy week. I decided on penne with fresh Italian sausage (local! from Baltimore!), zucchini, yellow and green pepper, garlic, onion, basil and fresh tomatoes. I cheated with 1/3 of a jar of store-bought sauce, which helped make it a little juicier since I didn't have that many tomatoes. The sausage sort of took over in all of the photos I took, so I decided not to post any of those, but I'm pretty sure it was tasty since two guests went back for seconds and one of them took home the leftovers.

This plate was filled with caprese salad, but I forgot to take a picture until the plate was half empty and our feeding frenzy had abated. (That's what happens when you don't sit down to eat until 9:45 pm!) When slicing the tomato, I gasped audibly because it was so darn gorgeous inside: a deep blood red. The basil came from the garden of my friend Mr. Bacon. For dessert I made my favorite brownie recipe--Moosewood Fudge Brownies--and served them with some B&J vanilla ice cream. I'm not sure how others feel about these unique, spongy brownies, but I can't get enough of them. They have a unique consistency due to the 5 eggs in them, but I love their firmness and cake-like quality. They don't crumble when you bite into them and they are so chocolatey. In fact, the smell of the unsweetened chocolate melting over a double boiler tricks me almost every time. I know it's going to be bitter, but usually I just can't resist trying it...I'm like the dog that runs to play with the tantilizing neighbor dog and gets zapped by the electric fence!

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