We’ve had friends visiting for the past few days – and that always means fun times. It’s been non-stop laughter and conversation and non-stop food – with a bit of wine thrown in for good measure. Definitely my kind of gathering.

We haven’t been doing a lot of non-stop eating this past year, but we were able to graze away without stuffing ourselves to the gills – just a bit of willpower and knowing when enough was enough. We ate well, we ate a lot – definitely more than our normal routine – but we did pay attention. As I have said many times, we’re not on diets. We eat what we want when we want and do not deny ourselves. We paid attention.

What we didn’t do was take a lot of pictures of what we were making – I tend to completely forget about snapping a photo when we have friends around. No pictures at all of the Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Louie’s from Monday, but I did get a picture of the tagliatelle Victor made for dinner on Tuesday.

It was totally awesome!


The pasta recipe is a take on Alon Shaya.

Fresh Pasta

  • 1 1/4 cups Tipo “00” flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Mix and mound the flours on the counter and make a well in the center.

Add the eggs and oil to the center and slowly start incorporating flour into the eggs. When it becomes cohesive enough to start kneading, begin by pressing the heel of your hand down and pushing the pasta, fold it over itself, and repeat. The process will take about 10 minutes. The dough will become rather stiff, but smooth. The more you do it, the more you will get the feel and the more natural it becomes.

Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

Take pieces of the dough and roll through a pasta machine or by hand, and form into your desired shape.

Fresh Sausage

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • S&P to taste

Mix all ingredients.

Fry small chunks of sausage mixture in a hot skillet, keeping the pieces bite-sized. Set aside.

Creamed Leek Sauce

  • 1 lb leeks – white and pale green parts – well-cleaned
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • S&P

Clean and slice leeks. Place in skillet with a bit of olive oil and cook until they begin to wilt. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup wine cook until liquid is mostly reduced. Add remaining liquid and cook until leeks are very tender, adding more wine, if needed.

Place leeks and their cooking liquid, 1/2 cup cream, and thyme into a blender and puree until smooth.

Place back into skillet and add the reserved sausage and the peas. heat through.

Thin, if necessary, with a splash more wine or water.

Check for seasoning and add salt or pepper, as desired.

Mix with pasta and serve.

Everything about this dish was right.

The pasta was light and delicate. The sauce was also deceptively light. It gets its body from the pureed leeks with just enough richness from a bit of cream. The sausage added flavor and texture, and the peas did, as well.

It took a bit of time to make the individual components, but the dish, itself, came together in mere minutes.

Definitely a keeper!

We had limoncello tiramisu for dessert. Small portions – I made a half-recipe! I neglected to get a picture, so here’s one from Easter. Same dessert, different plate.

Easter 2019

And we had lots of fun things to nosh on… The beauty of good friends is you make a lot of whatever and then you bring it out, put it back, bring it out, again, put it back, lather, rinse, repeat.

We had a big batch of hummus that we just kept refreshing and switching out things to dip into it…



adapted from Alon Shaya


  • 1 pound dried chickpeas (2 1/2 cups), soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt

In a saucepan, cover the chickpeas, garlic and baking soda with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring every 15 minutes, until the chickpeas are tender, 50 minutes; if necessary, add water to keep them covered.

Drain the chickpeas and garlic and transfer to a food processor; puree until very smooth. With the machine on, gradually add the tahini, lemon juice, 1/3 cup of olive oil and the cumin; season the hummus with salt.

Spoon the hummus into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Pork tenderloin grilled and marinated in spicy garlic sauce. This is the basic Asian-inspired marinade I make for any number of meats…

Asian Pork

Spicy Garlic Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup rice wine, or sherry
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 (or more) tbsp chili paste (Sambal Oelek)

Mix all ingredients.

Slice meat into bite-sized pieces and place in marinade. Chill at least one hour.

And one of our new favorite snacks, roasted chickpeas.

roasted chickpeas

We’ve made them with several different toppings, but really like garlic powder and finely grated parmigiano reggiano. You can use canned, just rinse well.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

adapted from NY Times

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmigiano reggiano
  • Salt to taste

Spread out chickpeas on a paper towel. Pat dry, then let dry for about an hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper, and spread chickpeas evenly on the pan.

Bake in the center of the oven until crunchy, about 30 minutes, stirring and rotating every 10 minutes.

Place hot chickpeas in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder, parmigiano reggiano, and salt.

And, we made bread, of course! Sourdough, using Susan’s fabulous starter. Ann loved it so much we sent her home with starter to make her own!

sourdough bread

I made two baguettes on the baking stone and a boule in the cast iron pot.

It was great for cheeses, the pork, dipping into hummus, sopping up pasta sauce, and slathering with butter.

The measurements are a bit vague, but I more or less follow the Tartine Sourdough method…

I keep about 75 grams of starter from each batch and have that in the ‘fridge. When I want to bake bread, I pull it out and add 200 grams of water and 200 grams of bread flour, mix it, and leave it out about 8 hours or overnight – depending upon what time I started it.

I take 75 grams of that and it goes back into the ‘fridge for the next batch.

To the remaining, I add about 300 grams of flour – and it can be an assortment of rye, sprouted wheat, and/or white bread flour – 10 grams of salt, and about 100 grams of water. The water varies by flour types. I’m looking for a loose but not wet dough.

I almost always mix with the Kitchenaid, but, it works by hand, as well.

I more or less follow the Tartine folding, and then form into loaves or boules. Regardless of shape, the oven is preheated to 500°F and temperature is dropped to 450°F once the bread goes in and baked until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped.

The food was good, but it was the company that made everything so great. There’s a comfort with old friends that brings immeasurable pleasure. There’s no pretense, there’s no having to be on your best behavior. There’s no mincing words or having to worry that someone will take something the wong way. It’s simply basking in the joy of being together.

Something we just don’t do often enough.