tomorrow night i'm having friends over for cocktail hour in my backyard. i've had a lot of fun planning the menu this week, but menu planning is always something i meet with mixed excitement and terror. i'm the type of person to get so pumped about researching an idea, that i end up finding a million ideas shooting off from my original one and feeling overwhelmed by all the options. for example, i decided to have my cocktail hour be simple, fresh and inspired by summer's seasonal bounty. i have a lot of ricotta in my fridge, so i figured i would make crostini spread with fresh ricotta, deviled eggs, fresh vegetables and homemade ice cream for dessert. simple, right?
while looking for a solid deviled eggs recipe, i found 4 spreads that i could use with the crostini, all completely unrelated to ricotta. then i thought ooh! i'll make that leek tart i just learned how to make. and i'll make pasta salad! and i really should bake something with that ice cream, shouldn't i? and then i realized none of those go together, i didn't have any vegetables in my supposedly simple spread, and i was thinking way too big for my budget. i ended up deciding on a vegetable platter with this dip to go with the crostini and deviled eggs. to relinquish some control and decision-making pressure, i snuck out of work on my lunch hour to the wallingford farmer's market and let whatever was fresh and good looking dive into my bag to be used on the veggie platter or to be stewed and spooned over ice cream. i ended up finding beautiful thumbelina carrots, a round orange carrots that i've never before seen. i also got fresh rainier cherries and bright yellow string beans. shopping at the market was a great way to clear my mind and really stick to my plan. after all that fuss, i know my cocktail hour will be bright and beautiful, and that's all that really matters.