This is no time to turn off the porch light to keep people from coming over for dinner.  A feast does not have to cost a million dollars.  A feast is all about the company.  Turn the music on, tell everyone to bring a candle (nothing stinky) and a bottle of wine if you’re drinking.  Then get over your feelings about cans.  Open up some chic peas, get a pan of olive oil, garlic and rosemary going, and when the garlic is golden, turn it off, dump in the chic peas and give them a toss with some red pepper flakes, fresh orange zest and a pinch of salt.  Next.  Peel a fresh beet, grate it, and give it a saute with chopped shallot and garlic and thyme.  Top with a few toasted walnuts.  Boil up some eggs, starting with cold water, turn off the heat when it comes to a boil, cover for four minutes, and then remove them from the pot.  Make your own mayo with a little extra mustard and lemon and after you salt and pepper them, drizzle the mayo over the halved eggs.  Scatter the plate with whatever tiny greens you have (arugula, parsley, fresh mint, basil..).  Slice up some oranges ala Bittman with a few smashed black olives.  Sprinkle with mint and salt.  Cut a few zucchini into matchsticks, dip them into a mixture of 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and warm water to make it like a loose sour cream.  Beat 2 extra large egg whites until just stiff and fold in.  Now fry those puppies, (when your oil is hot–a bread crumb will sink and then swim immediately); sprinkle with capers, toasted pine nuts and currants and serve immediately. Roasted broccoli goes like candy (olive oil salt, 400 degrees).  Make a big plate of croutons by chopping up yesterday’s bread and baking it in the same oven as the broccoli, but on a separate sheet pan.  Use your vegetable peeler to get the last bits of any hunks of parmesan you may have hanging around and toss those in with the bread.

Throw your head back and have a laugh.

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