For last week's girls cooking night, we did it Iron Chef-style (though non-competitive) with basil as the theme ingredient, which yielded one of the prettiest, most colorful meals yet.
Kim started us off with peach, red pepper and basil bruschetta. This was amazing - the flavor combinations were wonderful - who would have thought? The peaches and roasted red peppers were marinated in balsamic and sugar and were so good we ate the remaining mixture straight out of the bowl. Brownie made grilled pesto chicken and Debbie made not one but two types of mozzerella, tomato, basil salad.
I made tomato basil biscuits (recipe came from the New Basics Cookbook by the Silver Palate gals). I was a little worried because my dough was really wet after adding the tomatoes, but the end product came out just fine.
But I think we'd all agree that the piece-de-resistance of the evening was Melissa's fragrant shrimp with crispy basil and shitakes. She actually made her own curry paste for this dish -- so impressive! The recipe came from the Pacific Terrific cookbook, but she added fresh basil as well as the fried crispy basil called for in the recipe. The more basil the better, as far as I'm concerned!
Incidentally, the other portion of the Iron Chef challenge was lemon, which we ended up using in drinks and dessert. But as per usual, by the time dessert rolled around I was too intent on eating to take pictures. I had made lemon lace cookies (also from the New Basics) and Brownie had made a lemon cake (from Ina Garten, I believe), and we toasted with limoncello.