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It’s fun having friends you have known forever.  Conversations can range from childhood to current politics and back to gossip about someone you haven’t seen in 30 years – and back again.  There’s no end to the fun.  And that’s exactly how it was at our biannual dinner with Linda and David last night.  December at our house where Linda and I get Christmas presents, and late July/early August at their house to celebrate Linda’s and my birthdays – where we both get presents.  It’s a great tradition!  It’s also fun because Cybil is invited and she gets to play with her cousin Molly.  (Cousin Murray, the cat, goes upstairs.  He and Cybil aren’t kissing-cousins, at all.)  Uncle David spoils Cybil even more than we do – she loves to visit him!

Besides being great conversationalists, Linda and David know how to cook!  It’s restrained non-stop eating of the best kind.

We started off with some basics – red pepper hummus and crackers, a locally-made sharp cheddar cheese, oyster-stuffed mushrooms that were out of this world…  I was actually eating and talking too much to get pictures…

And then we moved into the dining room for dinner…

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A beef tenderloin coated with fresh herbs and oven-roasted.  Perfect.  Just perfect.  Accompanied by oven-roasted potatoes and steamed local green beans.  You could taste the freshness!  It was simple, elegant, and delicious all in one.

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Linda also made a Spinach and Strawberry Salad with a Poppy Seed Dressing that totally rocked!

Linda’s Poppy Seed Dressing

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp grated onion
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds

Process first 5 ingredients in blender about 20 seconds.  With blender on high, gradually add oil in a slow, steady stream.  Stir in poppy seeds.

Serve over fresh fruit or spinach.

Great with spinach and strawberries.  (Marinate strawberries in dressing approximately 1 hour before serving – spoon over spinach.)

And then we started on desserts.  Yes, desserts – plural.  The opening salvo was chocolate fondue with strawberries, fresh pineapple, and marshmallows.  We stood around the fondue pot on the kitchen island because everyone knows that calories consumed standing up don’t count.  We didn’t count a few of them.

It was a perfectly warm/cool-breeze evening, so out to the deck we went with rounds two-and-three of the desserts – Poppy Seed Pound Cake with an Orange Glaze (hafta use up those poppy seeds, right?!?)  and Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream.  And a tray of Chocolate Brownies and assorted candies.

We sat outside for several hours talking, laughing, eating, and just having a wonderful time.  I do have to admit that I ate more than one of everything and I loved every calorie-laden minute of it.

A mere 7 hours after arriving, we were heading home – with big smiles, gifts galore, and full tummies.

December’s going to be here before you know it – time to start thinking of what to do for our next get-together, here!

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