Mrs. Bentley’s Cooking Class

May 26, 2014

Quince de Mayo! OLE!

Cooking class #13

Grilling Corn Tortillas

I conducted my first cooking class at the home of a dear friend.  She asked that I put together a class for her networking group.  Since the class was scheduled for the 15th of May, I called it Quince de Mayo!  and came up with a Mexican menu.  Here’s what we made:

  • Corn TortillasCorn Tortilla Chips, Grilled with a Touch of Sea Salt for a No Fat, Crisp and Tasty Dipping Chip.  We laid fresh, uncooked corn tortilla chips on a hot grill and sprinkled them with coarse sea salt.  The heat of the grill causes the sea salt to stick to the tortilla.  Using tongs, we peeked at the undersides and when they had nice grill marks, we flipped them.  After just a few minutes, they were nicely charred and we tossed them into a bowl.  We kept grilling them until we had a nice big pile.  We cracked them by hand into approximate quarters.
  • GuacamoleSkinny Guacamole is Lightened Up by adding Roasted Tomatillos to Fresh Avocado – So Fresh and Yummy!  Tomatillos look like green tomatoes.  They come with a lose papery skin that feels like tissue paper.  They are very acidic and have a flavor similar to a lime, but a little more intense.  I discovered that if they are added to guacamole, the guacamole never turns that horrible grayish brown color.  Yeah!  Also, they are fat free and very low in calorie, so they thin down the calories in quacamole.  Yeah again!  Two problems solved!   Everyone loved this new twist on an old favorite!  It was so good, we had to make a second batch.
  • Roasted Tomato Salsa 500Roasted Tomato Salsa, Earthy and Surprisingly Light.  We grilled whole tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until they had nice char marks and the skin was beginning to peel off.  At the same time, we had pablano peppers on the grill.  The grill was set to high.  We grilled the pablano peppers until they were completely black on all sides.  Then, using tongs, we popped them into a zip bag and sealed it up so the pepper would steam.  After about 10 minutes in the bag, the blackened skin on the peppers slips right off.  We slipped them out of their skins over the sink because it can get a little messy.  Then, we cut the tops off the peppers and removed the seeds under running water.  The tomatoes and the peppers went into the food processor along with a few grilled tomatillos we had left over from the guacamole.
  • MoleChickenLegsSmallChicken Seasoned with Mrs. Bentley’s Secret Mole Spice Blend and Baked for an Aromatic Savory Treat!  I taught the participants how easy it is to make this delicious chicken, and it can me made for a crowd just as easily.  We had 30 chicken thighs in the oven while we made the other items on the menus.  Normally, a tray of chicken for a family dinner would cook in about an hour.  For 30 thighs on 4 trays, it took an hour and a half to cook.
  • GreenRiceI modified my basic Green Rice recipe by adding onions, peppers, garlic and cumin to give this dish a Mexican flair.

 

 

  • PannaCotta5My friend had asked that I make everything “healthy”, so instead of making a Mexican flan, I made Panna Cotta, the Italian gelatin based dessert.  This is another basic recipe that can be changed up in so many ways.  It is essentially, milk or cream and gelatin.  You can add any flavoring you like.  You can sweeten it with sugar or Splenda.  I’ve made chocolate, key lime, raspberry and vanilla before.  Look at the basic recipe and then use your imagination.
  • margarita2Everyone really enjoyed the Skinny Margaritas we made!  We made them with fresh lime juice, orange juice, tequila and the secret ingredient – Diet Mountain Dew!  I’m not kidding, we used Diet Mountain Dew and they were incredible.

 

Cooking class #1a

Participants Watching Intently As Salsa Is Being Made

Cooking Class #8a

Enjoying Skinny Margaritas!

PennySqueezingLimes

Our Hostess Squeezing More Limes Than She Has Ever Squeezed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Last Saturday Supper Club February – OPA!!!

March 9, 2014

ImageAnother hit dinner party!  Aside from all the good food and drink, I found out:

Tracey SexyTracey was a “Food Stylist” in a previous life!  And a damn good one at that.

TimTim used to hang out in Greek town, Detroit, and drink Retsina wine and shout OPA! every time anyone lit a match.  LOL!

Jonathan and TraceyJonathan is a baklava loving Super Hero.  His secret power is “saving the day” before I even know anything needs saving!

Laura 2Laura and I burned our Weight Watcher point cards in the flaming saganaki – OPA!

Last Saturday January 015Chip FebruaryIf Angel didn’t keep Chip in line, he might get a job at the National Enquirer!  I’ll be your steno, Chip – OPA!

David is the best “morning after” wing man a girl could ever want.

And finally, Black Buca (Sambuca, Greek Liquer) should be drunk in moderation, if at all.  Ouch, my head still hurts!

saganakia I served Saganaki, the flaming Greek cheese, as an appetizer.  It was served with warm bread.  I made homemade French bread using the food processor method – no kneading.  I love that recipe!  I don’t usually serve appetizers at a dinner party, but how can you have a Greek dinner party without Saganaki??  OPA!!

Jonathan

While I was serving up the Cosmos, Martinis and Wine, the cheese was frying in the super hot pan on the stove.  La La, blab blab, oops, the cheese was getting a little over-melty.  Have no fear, Jonathan is here!  He swooped in behind me and effortlessly flipped all the cheeses and then helped me light it up – OPA!  Now, here is a man you want at every dinner party.

I had trouble finding the right kind of cheese and ended up ordering it from a Greek deli in Wisconsin, Parthenon Foods.  My research showed that three different kinds of cheese could be used.  Halloumi is a mild salty Cypriot cheese made from a blend of sheep and goat’s milk.  Raw, it is a little rubbery and sort of spongy.  Melted, it held it’s shape, but was still gooey enough to dip bread into.

The second most popular cheese is Kasseri, an ancient Greek cheese that is semi-hard, salty and made mostly from sheep’s milk.  This cheese made the best saganaki.  It fried easily and melted perfectly.  Not too melty, just enough to sink a warm hunk of bread into it and pull up some gorgeous stretchy, gooey cheese.  And really delicious.

The third cheese was Kefalotyri.  This Greek cheese is hard, made of sheep’s milk and it is aged.  It’s flavor is quite salty and very sharp.  A bit crumbly, but it still melted nicely.  This cheese is the best tasting without melting.  I would serve this cheese again, raw on a cheese platter.

Avgolemono SoupFor the soup course, I served a classic Greek soup, Avgolemono.  It is a lemony chicken and rice soup, thickened with egg yolks and served with dill.  I love this soup so much, I think I could eat it every day.  It is very easy to make, and despite it’s rich look and taste, it is actually quite light in fat and calories.

 

Sausage and OctopusI was a little nervous about the third course, grilled sausages and octopus – OPA!!  I wasn’t sure how my guests would react to the grilled octopus.  Apparently, my guests all have sophisticated palates.

No one looked the least bit squeamish, no one ran from the room screaming, and everyone tried it.  I served it on 2 platters, family style.  I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to pass on anything they may not have wanted to try.  As you can see from the gorgeous platter, it looked very appetizing.

Tracey SexyMy friend Tracey claimed to have been a “food stylist” in a former life, so she arranged this beautiful platter of goodies.  Very impressive, Tracey!

My friend and neighbor, Tim is quite the grill master and smoke aficionado, so he helped me with the octo-sausage grilling.  Great job, Tim, thanks!

Rack Of LambFor the entree course, I served my famous rack of lamb.  Easiest recipe ever, just make sure your oven is clean, because they cook at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.  If your oven isn’t sparkling, you are definitely going to get smoke in the house.

Greek Spinach Side DishI served the lamb with a spinach side dish I invented a while back.  I love Greek spanikopita, the little Greek pastries filled with spinach and feta cheese.  So I make the filling and bake it in a casserole dish, skip the fussy, fattening phyllo dough! It was the perfect compliment to the rich lamb.

Grilled Red PeppersI also served grilled sweet red bell peppers, dressed in olive oil, lemon and dill, served over white rice.  I make these grilled peppers all the time.  They are easy to make and look gorgeous on the plate.

 

 

BaklavaOh my Lord, the dessert I served, that baklava, I really think it was the best I’ve ever tasted.  I used a recipe from Mario Batali.  One package phyllo dough, 4 sticks of butter, 3 cups of sugar, 1 cup of honey and pistachio nuts and walnuts.  It makes for a beautiful presentation.  Everyone loved it.  I sent most of it home with my guests.

There were  a few hiccups hosting this dinner, but nothing worth writing about.  My advice to anyone hosting a dinner party, is to relax, let your guests help, and serve everything with a big smile and pretend it all turned out perfectly.  Generally, your guests will not notice the missteps.  And, even if they do, the good company will make up for it.  Enjoy yourselves and be fearless in the kitchen!

Baklava 2


Tamales!

September 11, 2011

Aromatic Mole Rubbed Chicken Legs

I pulled out an old favorite cookbook and immersed myself in southwestern cuisine.  The book is, Cayote Cafe by Chef Mark Miller.   When I aquired this book, twenty some odd years ago, it was so edgy I didn’t know what most of the ingredients were, let alone where to get them.  For example, the book includes recipes for tomatillo salsa, ancho chile rubbed rabbit, poblano pesto and grilled nopales (cactus leaves).  Sounds pretty ordinary for these days, right?

Revisiting the book inspired me to create a mole rub for meat.  I mixed together; Hershey’s dark cocoa powder (unsweetened), instant espresso powder, cumin, ancho chile powder, dried oregano, salt and a bit of raw sugar.  I rubbed it on some skinless chicken legs and cooked them for my husband, David and I.  Wow!  We were both, completely blown away by these chicken legs!  The coffee acted as a meat tenderizer, the sugar created a crusty coating that sealed in all the juices and the chocolate and spices added flavor and aromas that knocked us over. I knew I had to make these chicken legs for company.

Tamales Tied With Corn Husk Ribbons

I was also inspired by a variety of tamale recipes in the cook book.  I had never made tamales before.  I think I had only eaten them once or twice before, but none the less, I ventured forth on a tamale quest.  There is a lot involved in making tamales and a variety of methods, wrappers and fillings.

In addition to the recipes in the Cayote Cafe cook book, I searched through three other Mexican cook books I have.  (I know what you’re thinking.  “Why does she have so many Mexican cook books?”  Ha!  Are you kidding me?  Name a cuisine and ask me if I have a book on it.)

I was a little frustrated with what I found on tamale making.  None of the books were very clear on the tamale process from start to finish.  I watched “you-tube” videos on tamale making and they weren’t very clear either.  The best instructions I found were in the Cayote Cafe book, so with a few minor adjustments, I forged ahead.

Tamales Stacked In The Steamer

You can’t make just a few tamales.  You have to make twenty or thirty at a time because you need to pack them, vertically in a steamer, and if the steamer isn’t packed full, the tamales fall over and the filling runs out.  So my next quandary was, if I make all these tamales, who can I get to eat them all?

I decided to add my newly created mole chicken legs to my tamale menu and I invited my friend Becky and her husband, Ed over for dinner.  Perfect!  They are both good sports about trying new things.  Becky brought the wine and an apple pie for dessert. Ed always brings good conversation with a dash of hilarity, always a great thing to have at a dinner party.

Plum Tomatoes Roasted With Cumin and Lime Juice

I paired the chicken and tamales with a batch of plum tomatoes roasted with cumin and a spritz of lime juice.  This simple side dish balanced the plate with freshness, flavor and color.   I adapted a recipe from Ina Garten that I have made often.  She slices fresh plum tomatoes and places them on a cookie sheet.  She drizzles them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkles them with salt and a bit of sugar to bring out the fresh tomato flavor.  She roasts them in a hot oven for 25 minutes.  They are super yummy and a synch to make.  I changed up her recipe to accommodate my Mexican menu.  Instead of using balsamic vinegar, I used fresh lime juice and I added a sprinkle of cumin.  The changes turned out to be subtle, but perfect for my menu.

The Menu:


Retro Revival

June 26, 2011

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Scallops

Sometimes all things trendy seem a little too far inside the box for me.  Does all good food have to be the latest fad from the outer reaches of the world?

Once in a while I like to go back to a good old standard, a classic.  That’s what I did here.  I went retro with bacon wrapped scallops.  They were so easy and so good, I may try that other old retro, bacon wrapped Filet Mignon for next week!

To prevent the scallops from becoming over done, I pre-cooked the bacon in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Then I wrapped the scallops and secured them with double skewers and popped them on the grill.  They took about 10 minutes total on the grill.  I rolled them over to the bacon side to make sure the bacon was nice and crispy.  They came out perfectly!  The scallop was so tender and juicy, not overdone at all.  And the bacon was crispy and delicious.  The bacon added such a gorgeous flavor to the scallops.  I’m not sure why anyone would ever prepare scallops without it.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops With Summer Squash and Pine Nuts

The bacon and scallops are fairly rich and I wanted a vegetable that was light and fresh.  I paired the scallops with a summery zucchini dish, “mixed summer squashes with toasted pine nuts”.  Super simple to make, it was surprisingly tasty.   I loved the way it looked on the platter with the scallops.

Ensalada Caprese

I went with one of my old standbys for a side salad.  I prepared ensalada caprese, family style.  It’s the classic Italian combination of fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil.  I chop it all up, passing dish style.  Then, drizzle with a little olive oil, splash a little rice wine vinegar and toss it with a generous amount of coarse sea salt.  Yummm!  Everyone always loves this salad.

The Menu:

 

Bacon Wrapped Scallops


Tennis Party Quiche

November 14, 2010

My Tennis club had a season kick-off party yesterday.  There was a tennis round robin, exhibition matches put on by the pros, and a pot luck lunch.   I wanted to make something that could be served at room temperature and I didn’t want to worry about the dish going bad in the heat.  So, I came up with quiche.  I was able to make it the night before and re-heat in the morning just before the party.

Spinach Feta and Dill Quiche for a Crowd

You know I’m a big showoff, so I can’t make quiche Lorraine or some other passe, boring old quiche.  My quiche has to wow the guests.  So, for the first one, I made a spinach with feta cheese and fresh dill pie.  I used puff pastry sheets for the crust and baked it in a disposable, tin 9 by 13 inch pan.  It was really beautiful, smelled fantastic and was absolutely delicious.  There wasn’t a scrap left at the party.  Try this recipe for what I call, Spanakopita Quiche.

Tomato Mozzarella and Fresh Basil Quiche for a Crowd

For the second dish, I made a tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil quiche.  The recipe is a take off on insalata caprese.  I was thinking about how to incorporate fresh tomatoes into a quiche with all the moisture there would be in the tomatoes.  I had a brainstorm and decided to roast the tomatoes before assembling the pie.

I used Italian plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise.  I cored them and laid them out on a cookie sheet.  I drizzled them with olive oil, salt, pepper and a little sugar (to help bring out the tomato flavor).  I roasted them at 450 degrees for about 40 minutes.

I used some of the roasted tomatoes, chopped up in the pie, and I saved some, whole to decorate the top of the quiche.  I used shredded mozzarella in the quiche, but thin sliced fresh mozzarella for the top of the quiche.  After scattering the top with fresh basil chiffonade, it looked a lot like a classic Margherita Pizza Pie.

I wanted this quiche to mimic the insalata caprese, which classically has good olive oil drizzled over top.  I din’t think olive oil in a quiche would work out, but maybe a few chopped green olives would give me the flavor I wanted.  I still have five pounds of green olives left over from the catering job.  If you recall, these are top of the line (expensive) large green olives.  I rough chopped a cup of them and scattered them throughout the quiche.  I was nervous about how that was going to work out.  Well, I was delighted when I finally got a taste at the party.  It was amazing!  A real WOW quiche recipe.  A nice twist on several classics.  I hope you give this recipe for “Tomato Basil Quiche” a try.


First Catering Job!

November 5, 2010

My friend Becky was hosting the BBW Bash – Fort Lauderdale in mid October.  She is active with this group of women that have world wide events for Big Beautiful Women.  This was her first time hosting the club in her home town.  She asked me to cater two parties at the conference, one Friday night and the other on Saturday night.  It was held at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Dania, Florida.

So, was I nervous?  Hell yes!  I just reminded myself that prior planning prevents piss poor performance and I got to it.  I tested all my recipes before I even suggested them to my customer.  I came up with appetizers I could make in advance, freeze and reheat.  I had taste testers come over and sample the reheated treats.  If you want to become one of my taste testers, leave me a message and I’ll see what I can do.

Becky was having between 50 and 75 guests and she wanted butler-served, one bite appetizers for both nights.  The first night was called, Club Night and it was a fancy cocktail party.  The second night was a costume party in honor of Halloween.  We ended up with the following menu:

CLUB NIGHT

  • Crab and Shrimp Tartlettes

Puff pastry squares with creamy crab and shrimp filling

  • Greek Inspired Spinach and Feta Strudel

Spinach, feta and dill in a flaky pastry pinwheel

  • Bruschetta with Ricotta and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Thin slices of French baguette, lightly toasted and topped with a mixture of creamy ricotta cheese, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil

 


Bruschetta with Ricotta Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes

 

I topped the bruschetta with a blend of cream cheese and ricotta cheese with chopped fresh basil.  I topped each one with some sundried tomatoes.  They were a big hit.

For the crab and shrimp pastries, I used several different types of crab; claw meat and leg meat.  The claw meat has the most “crabby” flavor.  I added salad shrimp to stretch my spread and save a few dollars.  I used puff pastry sheets that I cut into small squares, stuffed, then baked.

 


Crab and Shrimp Tartlettes and Spinach with Feta Strudel

 

For the spinach and feta strudel, I used crescent roll dough.  The filling is my standard Greek spanakopita recipe, which is spinach, feta cheese, cream cheese, chives, fresh dill and an egg to bind it.  They were my favorite appetizer.

COSTUME PARTY – Halloween Theme

  • Creamy Salmon and Dill Finger Sandwiches

Combination of soft pumpernickel and white breads with salmon spread.  Sandwiches can be Halloween shape cut-outs.  The orangey spread and the dark bread supports a Halloween theme.

  • Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

Wickedly delicious red sauce coated warm meatballs can be labeled, “Bloody Balls” if you want to highlight the Halloween theme.  They are delicious, whatever you call them.

  • Antipasto Kebabs

4 inch kebabs with cold cuts, cheese and olives, marinated in Italian dressing

 


Meatballs with Sweet and Spicy Sauce

 

Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of the salmon finger sandwiches, they were a sight for sore eyes, just beautiful!  I bought two large skinned and de-boned salmon fillets from Sam’s Club.  I roasted them with an herb infused vinaigrette, then blended the meat with cream cheese, chives and fresh dill.  I used a combination of soft dark pump and pump and rye swirl breads.  I used a Halloween cookie cutter to cut out small flutted circles with a pumpkin shaped hole in the middle.  They were adorable.  The salmon spread was delicious.

I over-estimated the amount of salmon filling I needed, so I had to get very creative with the leftovers.  After the catering job was over, I turned some of it into salmon quiche, I made salmon chowder, salmon quesadillas, and finally salmon won tons.  This was all made for David and I, so by now, you can imagine I wouldn’t be sorry if I didn’t see salmon for a while.

Oh, and all those bread scraps I had left over, I turned those into croutons, breadcrumbs and a fabulous rustic sausage, fennel and sage dressing to go with a roasted chicken I made.  You’ll read all about those recipes in next week’s post.

The meatballs were Sam’s club meatballs warmed in that classic old recipe, one can of cranberry sauce and one jar of chili sauce.  So easy, but so delicious.  Those little buggers went as fast as I could dish them up.

I didn’t get any pics of the antipasto kebabs either.  But you can imagine, Halloween themed appetizer picks, each one with a slice of salami folded in quarters, a cube of good quality cheese and topped off with the most gorgeous olive you have ever seen.  I have to talk up the olives because I also over bought those.  I bought a case from Whole Foods and spent more than my dear husband could understand.  I wonder how olive won tons would be?

My friend Julie helped me the first night.  She has done catering before, in one of her past lives.  She helped to keep me calm.  We ended up not having much to do because we were scheduled to serve food from eight until ten, but the guests didn’t show up until eleven o’clock!  By then, all we could do is put everything out buffet style for them.  Becky told me they ate every scrap and loved it all.

The second night, I went alone and a bit later than the night before.  Wouldn’t you know it, the guests all arrived on time and hungry.  So I had to hustle to get everything heated, trayed and served.  It was not too much to handle, everything went smooth, smooth, smooth.

I wasn’t sure what to expect in the kitchen of the Hilton.  I thought it was going to be empty and I was being allowed to use it.  No, it was in full swing with Chef Jorge Cardona cooking for other hotel guests.  At first I thought he would be so annoyed at having to let me into his kitchen, but I will tell you, he couldn’t have been kinder.  He allowed me to use his extra large trays, his work station, his ovens, whatever I needed.  He helped with the oven which was large and a little unwieldy.  He put my trays in, he set the timer, he pulled them out and handed them to me.  He was an ANGEL!

Jorge told me he doesn’t have the staff to handle the occasional night catering work, so he was glad to have me take care of it.  I’m hoping he can help me get more jobs at the hotel.

 

Jorge admiring Julie or Julie's Canapes?

 


Kebab-alooza!

July 22, 2010

Welcome to Kebab-a-looza!  Tati is off to Spain to be with her new husband.  She has her bags packed, her house packed up and shipped and we decided at the last minute to have a big send-off party for her.  A couple of the gals called me and said, “don’t you think we should get together one more time before she leaves?  Where should we meet up?”  I say, “Are you kidding me?  We’re meeting here, at my house!  I’ll put the party together, you gather the gals.”  There was some debate about having the men join us or not, but for me, there was no question – bring on the boys!!  Boys eat way more food than girls, so of course I want the boys there.

Cheese and Olives

Grape Kebabs

So with one day to plan, shop and prep, where in the world was I going to get my inspiration?  I grabbed a stack of recent food magazines and, what luck, Food Network Magazine had a pull-out insert with 50 kebab recipes.  Ok then, we’re having a KEBAB-A-LOOZA!!  And I just ran with it.  No time to second guess.

Come on, join me at my

Kebab-a-looza….

Caribbean Breeze

Welcome!  May I offer you a Caribbean Breeze?  Yes?  Would you like the virgin version or the slutty version?  (I know, I use this trick at lots of my parties.)  When entertaining, I always serve a signature cocktail, but it is always offered with or without alcohol.  I test the recipes to make sure both are equally as delicious.  This drink is made with cranberry juice, pineapple juice, coconut rum, regular light rum and club soda.  For the virgin version, I substituted coconut water for the coconut rum and ginger ale for the regular light rum.  Both were delicious and it was a good thing I made more than I thought I would need.  I had very little left at the end of the night.

Drink in hand, the Latin jazz is pulsating through the house, the patio lights are glowing, casting a  multi-color, festive vibe.  The smells coming from the trays being brought in from the grill are intoxicating.   May I offer you a bit of cheese?  How about an olive or some fruit?

For our salad course, we’re having insalata caprese kebabs.  Hey, it’s kebab-a-looza, baby!!

Insalata Caprese Kebabs

These are made with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil leaves and  black olives.  After they are assembled, they are drizzled with olive oil, rice vinegar and sprinkled with sea salt.  Every bit as yummy as the individual plated version – yummmm!

Tati, Carol and Carolina

Please, let me introduce you to the guest of honor. To my right (your left) is Tatiana and to my left is one of Tati’s best friends on earth, Carolina.  We are all tennis fiends.  We play just about every day and can’t live without it.  Tati has married a tennis pro who coaches Garica-Lopez, a Spanish player ranked in the top 50 in the world.  We are all extremely jealous that she has a lifetime of free lessons!  May I freshen your drink?  Here comes the first entree off the grill – oh my goodness, it smells sooooo good….

Grilled Jerk Pork and Pineapple Kebabs

This is pork loin, brined and grilled with pineapple and a  jerk mop.  As soon as I bring this platter in from the grill, I pull the dilled salmon kebabs from the oven.  I had  considered doing them on the grill, but decided it was overly ambitious.  I put them under the broiler while the pork was grilling.  It worked out perfectly.  Please, help yourself to some salmon….

Salmon Kebabs with Dill and Lemon

I had marinated the salmon in olive oil, lemon juice and fresh dill.  I made a side sauce with sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill and capers.  This was my dear friend Rozan’s response to the salmon..

Soooo Delicious!

Maria and Marty

Please, meet Maria and her husband, Marty.  Maria is another tennis buddy, however, she has been noticeably absent from the courts lately.  She is working very diligently on re-educating herself in the medical field.  She also teaches English as a second language.  Both are from Venezuela and are sick, sick, sick about what that crazy-man Chavez is doing to their homeland!

Grilled Chicken Satay with Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Just when everyone thought they had seen all the kebab-a-looza, I brought in the last entree tray from the grill; Satay Chicken, marinated in lime, garlic, onion, cilantro, fish sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil.  It’s grilled, ever so lightly and then served with a drizzle of Thai peanut sauce and chopped green onions.  Everyone swooned and I thought Rozana might faint with delight!   I just love feeding people delicious food!

Strawberries and Chocolate

Are you ready for a  light, cool dessert?  Of course, I’m serving more food on sticks, hey,  it’s

kebab-a-looza!

Help yourself to some strawberries and chocolate.  Have some grapes if you like.  How about a little coffee, do you prefer tea?

Let me introduce you to some of the other guests;

Melvina hits the tennis ball harder than anyone I know. She is completely self taught.  She watches tons of tennis on TV and then practices what she sees.  It is a truly amazing method!  The lovely gal next to Melvina is Mary.  Mary was in a terrible car accident as a younger woman.  While enduring her arduous recovery, she was inspired by her own caregivers.  As a result, she pursued a career in medicine.  She is a highly successful physician’s assistant and our tennis team relies on her kind expertise frequently.

Earth Angel, Nancy

Did you get some strawberries?  The aromas are still amazing, the music is still reverberating throughout, and the smokers have gone out to the cabana to imbibe.  Please, let me introduce you to Nancy.  Nancy is an angel, and I mean that in a very literal sense.  She is an earth angel, put here to do good things.  She inspires me in ways that are difficult to explain.

Tracy's young man, Jonathan

Tracy and Carolina

As planned, many guests brought their old wedding albums.  Tati had brought photos from her recent wedding in Spain (that most of us had missed).  Upon request, other guests had brought their wedding albums (from years ago).  We had fun looking at all the photos.

Wedding Pictures

Everyone had a great time.  We’ll miss Tati terribly, but it will be great to have someone to visit in Spain.

Bon voyage, Tatiana!


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