The thing is, though, when you go out for happy hour a lot, it still adds up. And Dr. Scott, Rob, Caitlin, and I were going out to happy hour A LOT. (Plus, we were getting oh-so-slightly sick of going the same places all the time.) So we came up with a solution: move happy hour to our houses and rotate every week. We started out at Scott's, and this past week moved to my house.
Caitlin and I drinking Laphraoig at Scott's
As hostess, I felt compelled to provide food for my guests. I wanted to keep it fairly simple and casual, but filling. I also wanted to make something that Noe would want to eat when he joined us after his basketball game. I went with homemade pizzas - fairly cheap, pretty easy, and I could offer a variety of toppings.
I cheated a bit - I bought two Boboli crusts and a bag of dough from the refrigerator section of the supermarket. The day before our gathering, I took inventory and built my pizzas around things I already had. I decided to do three pizzas: a pesto/artichoke; a fig/bacon; and a classic Margherita.
For the artichoke pizza, I mashed a few cloves of roasted garlic (purchased from the olive bar at Stop & Shop - didn't have time to roast my own) and spread them on the crust. I then spread a couple tablespoons of pesto (found in my freezer; God only knows how old it was) over top of the garlic. I topped that with some chopped artichoke hearts (I had a can in the cupboard from making spinach-artichoke dip) and some grated cheeses: mozz, provolone, and parmesan.
Garlic, pesto, artichoke, and three cheese pizza
For pizza number 2, I did purchase a jar of fig preserves. I spread them over the crust like I would sauce, then topped it with chopped bacon and thinly sliced red onion. I topped it off with crumbled bleu cheese (leftover from a bistro steak I made over the weekend).
Fig preserves, bacon, red onion, and bleu cheese
The third pizza was the classic Italian combo of tomato, basil, and mozzarella. I spread the crust with crushed tomatoes (chunkier than plain tomato sauce). I sprinkled it with some dried oregano and basil from my spice cupboard, topped it with some slices of fresh mozz,and baked it. After I took it out of the oven, I tore up some fresh basil leaves and sprinkled them over the top.
All three pizzas turned out pretty tasty. Scott voted the artichoke the winner. I was a big fan of the bacon/fig/bleu combo. Rob liked the Margherita, but that was mostly because of the chewier crust. We decided to let Noe pick the winner - he went with the fig (probably because he has a bit of a sweet tooth).
(This was a very cheap meal for me to provide, because I happen to be the type of person that has things like imported tomatoes, cans of artichokes, and frozen containers of pesto on hand. But anyone can make a pizza with a pre-made crust, and you don't have to pick expensive or "fancy" toppings. And most of the things I used were not very expensive to begin with. You could buy everything to make any one of these pizzas for less than ten dollars.)
Scott brought a couple bottles of Scotch, one of which we had made a dent in last week. I am really starting to love the smokey, complex taste of Scotch. Scotch is very expensive when ordered in a bar, so
buying it by the bottle has definitely saved us some money (I'll be writing a Scotch post in the near future).
Scotch and Rob - NOT a match made in heaven,
but what a great photo!
So far, home happy hour has been a huge success (although it does make me want one of those sixties Mad Men-style bar carts with wheels). We've eaten better, consumed higher quality booze, and even saved a little bit of money. Rob's up next - we'll see if he can take up the mantle and continue the tradition.