Last night was my turn to host Bunco – a group of women in my neighborhood who meet once a month to play this wonderfully mindless dice game and connect with one another. (Shhh, don’t tell our husbands…we don’t really play anymore; we mainly socialize!)

I really feel the need to pat myself on the back for this one. “Why?” you might ask…well, bunco was Tuesday night, and I had forgotten all about it until late on Monday. I spent Monday night/Tuesday morning cleaning and Tuesday afternoon figuring out what to serve, grocery shopping and assembling food. In the end it all came together quite nicely, and even on time!!

I put together several plates of appetizers. On one I skewered cherry tomatoes, mini mozzerella balls, olives and basil, added a light vinegrette and sprinkled some capers on top. My basil came directly from the garden, so I was able to take a large sprig of it to use as a garnish. Next, I put together a plate of sliced mellon with proscuitto. I rolled the proscuitto into roses and set them next to the mellon, which enabled everyone to decide for themselves if they wanted to combine the two (as I like to do) or eat only one or the other.

A cheese platter with sliced fruit is always a fast choice, and always seems to be welcomed. I placed a few different types of cheese on a platter and set apple slices, grapes and crackers around them. On yet another platter I made a ‘deconstructed’ appetizer consisting of a calamata olive tapenade, softened goat cheese, baguette slices and strips of roasted red bell peppers. To put it together involves spreading softened goat cheese on a baguette slice, adding a layer of the tapenade, and finishing with a strip of the pepper. I left this as an ‘assemble your own’ appetizer, mainly due to time constraints.

One final savory plate held endive leaves topped with a smoked trout spread…again, simple yet delicious. And let’s not forget everyone’s sweet tooth! My dessert plate was made up of a few selections I picked up from Whole Foods: mini brownies bites, coconut macaroons and pizzelle cookies. To round out the menu I made sure there was plenty of wine! But in the end I have to confess that the crowning touch to the evening had nothing to do with the food or drink, but rather the nice evening a fabulous group of women had as they caught up on each other’s lives.