Fireflies lit up Jeremy and Michelle's wooded backyard on a cul-de-sac. For those of you unfamiliar with this term of American suburbia, a cul-de-sac is a dead-end street usually with a circular turnaround at the end with three or so houses situated around the circle. This set-up reduces traffic making for a quieter environment, and when located in new developments where the houses have yet to be built creates a great spot for teenage parking or parties.
Expertly grilled marinated meats and assorted salads were served. Michelle went to culinary school (in Maine, two blocks from the seashore), always a bonus in a friend whether they are the hosts or your guests. I'm a big fan of broccoli salad and luckily their neighbor, Myrna, brought a delicious one. Most recipes are dressed with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip salad dressing and include bacon, onions and sunflower seeds. Myrna's added hardboiled eggs, tomatoes and cauliflower. Lola brought a spinach salad with Mandarin oranges and pecans in a balsamic vinaigrette. There was also a green salad with chunks of tomato. I made an close adaptation of Salt and Vinegar Potato Salad . A platter of thick watermelon slices was passed for dessert. Perfect summer evening.
It was a muggy night, but we cooled ourselves by sitting with our legs in the pool. Lola and I traded off holding a very mellow six-month-old baby. What a sweetiepie. Thanks to his mom, Amy, for letting us soak up all that babyness. We amused ourselves by playing a non-comptetive round of the movie game. Someone starts off by naming a movie, then the next person has to name another movie with any of the same actors in it and you can't repeat a movie. My brother is very good at this game. He remembers supporting roles for every movie he's seen, which probably numbers in the thousands. When he visits, we sometimes keep the game going for the whole weekend.
We spent Saturday playing darts and drinking beer at the Flying Saucer with the family to celebrate my brother-in-law Erik's birthday. A good time was had by all, especially his dad Rick who won all three games. After a lunch of Mexican food and a mid-afternoon snack of chevre, brie, manchego, and cotswold cheeses with olive tapenade, slivered Granny Smiths and almonds, we ended the day at Camon Japanese restaurant. We shared some edamame and dumplings, then the guys and I had sushi and mom Cathy had miso soup with silky Udon noodles and shrimp.
For Sunday brunch I served up mimosas, Dutch babies and sweet and spicy bacon from recipes listed on Orangette, one of my favorite food bloggers. The Dutch baby, cooked in a half stick of butter in a cast iron skillet, was topped with clarified butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar while it was still warm from the oven. It was similar to a clafouti, if you've tried that. I'll definitely make the bacon again, which was chewy from the glaze formed by the brown sugar and had a kick from the cayenne and black pepper.