Thursday, July 26, 2018

Party Prep Day

Wednesday dawned a lovely warm day. I enjoyed a morning soak in my hot tub and could have stayed there for hours now that it’s cooler. Although we’re well into a very hot spell, there was a bit of a breeze making things a little more comfortable.
Mid-day I went into the village to shop for tonight’s dinner. I Googled “substitute for Manchego cheese” before I went; even in my recipe book there’s a warning about the challenge of accessing that particular cheese for a baked corn dish I want to make. I stopped at the deli to see if they even carried cheese. I knew the grocery store wouldn’t.
They did! So I asked for some Asiago—it’s similar to what I wanted—but I mentioned to the woman serving me that what I really wanted was Manchego. And voilà! She produced some. It’s another reason to love Gabriola!
I’d decided to make a tarte aux pêches for dessert—following a favourites recipe from the French culinary school my friend Liz attended when we both lived in Nice—but there were no more peaches left at the store. So I substituted Nectarines and added some Blueberries. The base is almond; it’s sweet—more cake than custard.

I’m glad my passion for good food and “gourmet” cooking has (modestly) returned. Poor Bruce despaired over my aversion to the kitchen when he was here. When I pulled the tart out of the oven it was 34° outside. Still, inside I’m cool enough to bake without baking myself.
I’m serving cucumber salad with radish and dill, roasted corn with the Manchego, jalapeno and lime, pasta mixed with mashed beet, browned butter and deep fried poppy seeds. And for the main I’m barbequing pork loin in an incredible sauce I learned in my Dirty Aproncooking course. 
Tonight’s meal will be my first served outdoors. It’s a way to enjoy a summer meal I’ve longed for since moving here—all the atmosphere of a picnic with none of the hassle. The temperature is ideal and I know how to turn the spa off so we don’t have any sound from it while we’re eating.
Where we really should eat is in the shed. It is really cool inside because it’s under the trees and has no windows. But it ain’t pretty in there.
I’m excited about tonight. I’m hosting a small dinner party of lovely people, all of whom I have met here on Gabriola. And I’m building connections and earning respect in my volunteer work with the arts council. 
It’s easy to hire a guy and build a fence and courtyard and to renovate a building to make a place feel like mine—like home. But it’s a big deal for me tonight because these people feel like true friends. 
I bought a large bottle of Veuve Clicot—my favourite drink of all—with which to toast acknowledge the significance of the evening to me. I’d love to be able to make a nice toast to this effect, but doubt I have the social chutzpa.
Watering Eden this morning was enjoyable. I feel like a doctor doing rounds, checking on all my “patients.” I have a few that are ill. I realize watering is only onerous when project/volunteer work is pressing.  I’m in good shape for tonight’s dinner party; I’m in control of all the preparations. I’ll spa my way through the day and take Sheba to the beach so she’s exhausted tonight.
I heard from Bill. He’s about to read my script. 
I was grateful he wrote with a question about the dresses. It allowed me to set him up a little for the odd/non-traditional structure of the play. He asked to see the dresses so I sent him a link to an online gallery. I’m so lucky to have so talented and generous a friend. 

Appia Via 

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