Food & Drink | November 2019

By Abby & Kevin Tankersley

Supper Club

It started in 2003, when four men would get together at Waco Regional Tennis Center to play a few sets. Then those four and their wives took a tennis trip to Destin that year and another a year later. While the guys were “doing tennis stuff, the girls decided we should start a supper club and try to meet once a month,” Kim McCall said. “And we’ve done pretty well. I can only think of maybe four or five months we’ve missed in the last 15 years.”

Some months the group does a full homecooked meal, with the host couple taking the lead on that month’s plans. Other times they’ll meet at a local restaurant for dinner and then head to someone’s house for dessert. The schedule is often based on Baylor tennis matches at the Hurd Tennis Center or televised professional tennis. For years the group met mostly on Saturday evenings, but for some, grandchildren have entered the picture and their activities often take priority, “so we have started shifting to every once in a while doing a weeknight,” Kim said.

Kim and her husband, Mark, are members of the group, as are Julie and Jeff Cox; Sharon and Jeff Henson; and Kim and Jay Nye.

“We’re just a pretty fun group,” Kim said.

The meals have ranged from elaborate — pork loin, on the good china, prepared by Julie Cox — to even having breakfast for dinner, with scones, migas and fruit salad. And a New Year’s Eve dinner turned out to be pretty memorable, but maybe not for the right reasons.

“We were going to do fajitas, and we decided to make our own tortillas,” Kim said. “Maybe it was something in the recipe I misread, but we didn’t let the dough rest enough. When we pressed the tortillas out, they shrank back up. So we had silver-dollar size tortillas. And we had flour everywhere. It was all over us, all over the floor.”

She hasn’t made tortillas since. But Kim does most of the cooking when it’s just her and Mark at home for dinner. They eat a lot of chicken and salads, she said, and she loves to bake as well. Mark handles the grilling duties, and “he makes awesome pies.”

“He makes a buttermilk pie and a fudge pie,” Kim said. “They were both his grandmother’s recipes. And he makes his own crust. He does an awesome crust. He can do a crust better than I can.”

When the McCalls host their friends for dinner, a typical menu might consist of spaghetti pie, roasted green beans, French bread and bread pudding — or one of Mark’s pies — for dessert. For recipes this month, we’ve included some of Kim’s recipes along with some of ours that have worked well at dinner parties and life groups we’ve hosted. The scallop dish, by the way, pairs nicely with a cold Moscow Mule.

The Recipes

Scallops with Brown Butter and Lemon

  • 3 lemons
  • Chives
  • 12 large sea scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons drained capers

Cut 2 lemons and squeeze the juice into a measuring cup. There should be about 1/4 cup juice. Set aside. Cut the third lemon into thin slices and set aside.

Thinly slice chives and set aside. Pull the side muscle off scallops, if needed, and pat dry. Season the scallops lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet, preferably stainless steel, over medium-high heat. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of oil to lightly coat the pan. Let it get hot until it shimmers and just begins to smoke. Quickly place the scallops into the skillet, flat side down, and let cook, undisturbed, until the underside is a deep golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Use a thin spatula or tongs to gently turn the scallops over. If they stick to the pan, let them cook for another 30 seconds or so, then try again. Cook the scallops on the other side until both sides are golden brown and there is a translucent strip in the middle.

Pour off any oil in the skillet and place the pan back over medium heat. Add the butter and cook, swirling often, until the butter foams and then begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and slices and swirl in the pan to combine. Mix in the capers and chives. Spoon the sauce over the scallops.

If desired, the scallops can be served over pasta or rice. Makes about 4 servings.


White Pizza with Spinach

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces Romano cheese, grated, plus more for topping
  • 1 packaged, precooked flatbread
  • Smoke salt or sea salt, to taste

Turn oven broiler to high.

In a skillet set over medium-high heat, combine oil, garlic and shallot. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and begins to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach to the skillet and sauté until it begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Combine the cheeses in a bowl, then spread the cheese mixture over the flatbread. Place under the heated broiler until the cheese has just begun to darken. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the spinach-garlic mixture over the cheese. Top with additional grated Romano cheese, if desired.

Return to the oven and broil for an additional 2-3 minutes until the cheese melts and the crust begins to brown. Remove from oven and season with smoked salt or sea salt. Cut into 6 slices and season. Makes 2-3 appetizer-size servings.


Spaghetti Pie

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce with garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups hot, cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it’s browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return meat to skillet. Stir in salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, green onions and cream cheese; set aside.

Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Add the cooked spaghetti to the dish, then spread the sour cream mixture over the top. Add the meat mixture. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional
5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling. Serve while hot. Makes about 6 servings.


Easy Caesar Salad

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 oil-packed anchovy filet (or more to taste), drained
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small head romaine lettuce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
  • Homemade or packaged croutons

To make the dressing, grate the garlic clove into a bowl. Place the anchovy filet on a cutting board. Using the flat side of a large knife, mash the anchovy into a paste and add to the garlic.

Whisk in the Dijon, lemon juice and mayonnaise until well incorporated. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the dressing is thick and creamy.

Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces, and add to the bowl with the dressing. Season lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Add about half of the cheese and toss the salad with clean hands or wooden spoons. Transfer to a platter and top with the remaining cheese and croutons. Makes about 4 servings.


Herbed Croutons

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups bread, such as sourdough, ciabatta or whole grain, cubed

Place the butter, garlic powder, onion powder, dill and salt in a microwave-safe 8-by-8 glass baking dish. Microwave on high for 30-60 seconds, until the butter has melted. Stir to combine the butter and herbs.

Add the cubed bread to the dish and toss to coat with butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then remove from the oven and stir. Continue to microwave and stir, in 1-minute increments, until the croutons are done to desired crunchiness. Makes about 2 1/2 cups croutons.


Buttermilk Pie

  • Pie crust (either store-bought or prepared from the recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Heat oven to 450 F.

Place pie crust dough in a pie pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream in the butter. Add the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and lemon extract and mix well.

Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Makes about 8 servings.


Pie Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold milk

To make the crust, in a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk together. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

Break the egg into a measuring cup and add the vinegar. Whisk together. Add enough milk to make 1/2 cup liquid. Stir well.

Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Stir until combined into a dough. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap the dough tightly. Flatten into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.

When ready to use, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface in a circle roughly 1 inch bigger than your pie pan. Place the dough into the pan and proceed with your pie recipe. Makes 2 pie crusts.


Moscow Mule

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 cup ginger beer
  • 1 lime wedge, for garnish

Fill a highball glass or copper mug with ice (crushed, if possible). Add the vodka, lime juice and ginger beer. Stir to combine, and add the lime wedge. Makes 1 drink.