Three times per year, our neighborhood hosts a mixer for everyone to get to know each other- particularly those that have recently moved in. They are hosted in a volunteer’s backyard. Due to my work induced hibernation called busy season, Alex and I missed a couple when we first moved in. When late spring offered the opportunity to shut down the laptop and go meet the neighbors for the first time, we indulged. The mixer was held at Jeff & Nancy’s home, which was a beautifully restored ranch style home with a great big outdoor bar and barbeque with black tumbled marble countertops, and plenty of seating. They also had a tree house further back! Inside, the house was modern with a great cook’s kitchen. I didn’t get a full tour, but what I saw, was sleek and nicely updated. Mixers are generally confined to the backyard so to get to see the inside was quite a treat.
We met and spent time chatting with Karen and Ed, who told us the history of the infamous neighborhood horse (apparently a recently removed sculpture which was much beloved), Jeff (the homeowner), and another Ed who happened to have a HAM radio connection with Alex – that’s where I tuned out (pun intended). I instead turned my attention to the food.
Mixers are a wonderful thing. Everyone is supposed to bring a dish potluck style that feeds about 6 people, but they seem to feed much, much more. The neighborhood association provides the beverages. We had veggies, cheese, dips, cake, and cookies. We had a dinner plans with friends that night, so it was difficult not to over indulge. This was where I started to introduce myself to the neighbors, and it was important to make a good first impression.
How to be Neighborly: Always make a good first impression.
So, I brought my trusty zucchini salsa and pita chips. Everyone always loves this. This time was no different. As predicted, everyone loved it. It’s easy, flavorful, and relatively healthy. Take this to your next potluck and you’re sure to make a good impression too!
Zucchini Salsa with Pita Chips
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 Zucchini/Mexican squash diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 tsp dill
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ red onion, diced
- ¼ c pomegranate seeds (*)
- 2 avocados, diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Pita chips
Combine oil, zucchini, dill, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl and coat the zucchini. Put the zucchini on a sheet pan and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until just softened, but not mushy or brown. Let the zucchini cool to room temperature. Once cool, add zucchini, onion, pomegranate seeds, avocado, and lemon juice to a bowl. Stir to combine, but be gentle with the avocado.
Serve with Pita Chips.
(*) If you can’t find pomegranates, you can use pine nuts and chopped dried cranberries: ¼ c each.