We had been trying to find a time to have dinner with friends, and after many attempts we finally established a time.
Our Son and their Daughter had been best of friends in Pre-School, but had moved to different Elementary schools and then their family spent a year in Austria, so we lost touch a little.
It was wonderful to reconnect with them and with another dear family who had recently moved back to the area from Cincinnati.
On the day we determined, I was picking up my son from camp, a 5 hour round trip, so I made sure to keep the menu quick and uncomplicated. Nevertheless, the simple meal was greatly enriched by seeing friends and the fascinating conversation.
ROSE SANGRIA WITH PINEAPPLE AND GUAVA
1 750 ml bottle of rose wine
8 ounces of light rum
24 ounces of pineapple juice
24 ounces of guava nectar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 cups 3/4 inch cubes of fresh pineapple
2 oranges, halved through stem end, thinly sliced crosswise
Mix wine, rum, pineapple juice and guava nectar together in a large pitcher. Add cinnamon sticks, pineapple and orange slices.
Cover and chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Fill glasses with ice, pour sangria over.
Garnish with orange slices if desired, and serve.
ASPARAGUS WITH POACHED EGG AND CRISPY PROSCIUTTO
1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 slices of prosciutto, cut into strips
1 1/2 pounds of asparagus, tough ends trimmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan cheese strips
2 tablespoons of fresh basil leaves, sliced
Heat oven to 425F.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Scatter prosciutto strips in an even layer in the skillet, cook until crisp, about 2 minutes, turning pieces as they crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
On a large baking sheet, toss asparagus with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and arrange in an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast 12 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.
While asparagus is roasting, poach the eggs.
Divide asparagus among 4 plates, season with salt and pepper. Place a poached egg on each serving. Top each with crispy prosciutto, shaved parmesan and basil.
Recipe adapted from Red Book Magazine
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POTATO CRUSTED SALMON WITH HERB SALAD
2 to 3 cups of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed and squeezed dry
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 8-ounce salmon fillets
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
herb salad mix
In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the chives and flour and season with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon fillets on a work surface and season with salt and pepper. Evenly pat the shredded potatoes onto the top of each fillet.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully add the salmon fillets to the oil. potato side down, and cook over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until browned, about 8 minutes. Carefully flip the salmon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Using a fish slice, transfer the salmon to plates.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the herb salad mix and toss to coat. Transfer the salad and salmon to plates and serve.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine
BLUEBERRY BUTTERMILK ORANGE TART
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
300g butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup cream
zest of 2 oranges
juice of 1 orange
120g butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 to 2 cups of blueberries
Heat oven to 180C.
Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Add melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon. Press into tart pan and bake about 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Whisk the sugar and eggs together. Add remaining ingredients except blueberries and whisk until smooth. Place blueberries in the pre-baked shell and pour filling over. Bake about 40 to 45 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool.
NOTE: a pan size was not specified, I used a 10 inch one, and had crust and filling left over, which I made into mini tarts.
Recipe adapted from New Zealand House and Garden