Monday, August 14, 2006

Dinner at the Lake

Our back yard

Yesterday was a beautiful day in central Ohio, and the outside, which quite often makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, was a delightful place for a party. We hosted a dinner for 13 at our lake house yesterday--some people we only see about once a year were in town, along with their son who has ironically moved here from New Jersey by way of Florida (kind of), their daughter and her boyfriend and son, and then two other couples whose company we enjoy.

My 16-year-old daughter opted to join us because she knew, as did I, that it would be an evening full of more than houseguests--there would be characters--characters to predict and giggle with and sometimes at (in a respectful way, of course). We weren't disappointed.

I love to cook. Not the everyday day-after-bloody-day-I'm-tired-of-being-the-foodsource kind of cooking. The small parties with people I love sitting around my table, all feeling comfortable and welcome and well-fed, actually gives me a bit of a buzz. Wine or not. Sangria or not. I do love the sangria.

Here is one of the things I served that everyone devoured, courtesy of Ina Garten--if I were to ever meet Ina, I believe I would stammer and drool and say something stupid like--Oh Barefoot Contessa, I love you! Sign my apron.

Tomato and Feta Salad
3 pints grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
12 ounces feta cheese, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine or champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a serving bowl, gently toss together all ingredients. Serve immediately or chill, covered, until ready to serve.

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