It is a rare treat to have such a phenomenal group of humans to adventure with in life. One of these ladies in particular had a birthday this week. I have known her forever. We have grown together, always making a conscious effort to remain friends.
Haley and I have been friends since middle school. When I say friends I mean I was her school buddy, we didn’t talk for a year, and we have been inseparable ever since (ah middle school). We love to point out how different we are on the political spectrum but we agree on almost everything else. She is the person I call to tell me first what I want to hear and then what I need to hear in any situation, my favorite international travel partner, perpetual plus one, and general partner in crime.
When I was gathering ideas for a meal that reminded me of Haley I thought immediately of ravioli. This particular pasta was my nemesis for a very long time and Haley was there for a few of the trials. The funniest one to date was my attempt sans pasta maker with whole wheat flour. Don’t try this it is a terrible idea. The dough does not get thin enough and expands when cooked to an inedible mass. Or so I thought until my best friend, after running a half marathon, came over and downed this attempt without a second thought because she hadn’t eaten since the race. My parents were poking at their plates disdainfully as was I while I am pretty sure Haley got seconds. If I hadn’t figured it out already that was probably the moment I would have pinpointed she was my person.
We also have a fondness for charcuterie boards. These simple yet incredible masterpieces are the centerpiece of nights in with bottles of wine and hilarious conversation. With these two fixtures in mind I created the following menu.
Appetizer: A charcuterie board featuring a soft and a hard cheese, a salami and a sliced meat like a prosciutto or pepperoni, and then the accoutrements. This is your chance to go crazy! I like to add a soft bread like a baguette or pretzel bread along with crackers, grainy mustard is also common, mixed olives, a fun marmalade such as grapefruit, dried fruits like apricots or cranberries, and finally pistachios or almonds. You definitely do not need to have all of these but pick and choose depending on the size of your party (or make this board your meal and graze all night!)
Main Course: I know it is March but it is still chilly in Ohio so I am in full squash mode. This butternut squash ravioli is about as close to perfect as you can get. Hint of sweet, savory, and delicious. Crisping the sage leaves in the brown butter sauce is an easy way to make this already insane meal even more decadent and really impress your guests.
Dessert: It seems like most of the time when I am talking to Haley she is either eating or talking about eating ice cream. After creating what can only be described as the most picturesque appetizer and nailing the labor intensive but incredibly rewarding ravioli, treat yourself to a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream. Better yet, have someone else scoop the ice cream for you. Sit back, relax with a nice glass of wine, and savor the last bit of this fabulous meal.
Happy International Women’s Day! Hug a boss babe today and remind your girlfriends how incredible they are!