Monday, August 26, 2013

Late Summer Supper

Jan, left, and I enjoy a glass of crisp French Chardonnay
with our summer supper of stuffed chicken breasts 
Normally there would only be a few more days to go until the soupy air turns brisk in my part of the world, but here in the mid-Atlantic, Baltimore has been enjoying an unusual run of gorgeous, humidity-free, picture-perfect summer days while the calendar still says August.  Don’t know what we did to deserve them but I, for one, am taking full advantage of warm, dry days and cool, clear nights to revel in the great outdoors.  I am fortunate, indeed, that I don’t have to go very far.  My own backyard is an oasis this time of year, with lush greenery and colorful flowers spilling over window boxes on all four sides of my historic farmhouse, in hanging baskets of sweet begonias, fuchsias and marigolds tucked into quiet corners, and in the ripe tomatoes and bell peppers decorating my garden.
My menu was a simple, yet elegant combination of
homemade entrees and dessert
with easy, store-bought appetizers
It was an ideal time to host a late summer supper for my close friends, Janet and Jesse, out on my patio.  I let my go-to supermarket, the small, New York-based Wegman’s chain, provide tasty balsamic Cippoline onions, stuffed grape leaves, and spinach-artichoke crisps for appetizers, which I supplemented with tall glasses of summery homemade peach sangria.  

With my window boxes looking
so pretty this year, I couldn't wait to
show them off to dinner guests
A fresh green salad topped with sweet-tangy red pepper jelly vinaigrette followed, accompanied by chicken breasts on the grill which I had stuffed with arugula, goat cheese and roasted red peppers.  I added a savory baked tart featuring ripe Roma tomatoes topped with a dollop of homemade basil pesto, both from my burgeoning garden, and topped off the meal with individual ramekins of coconut-rice pudding crowned in fresh raspberries, a delightful conclusion to a wonderfully relaxed evening. 
Toasted coconut flakes and fresh
raspberries lent smoky appeal to
baked ramekins of coconut-rice pudding

As tiki torches around my property and candles on my patio table provided a dreamy ambience, we friends chatted the evening away, catching up on each other’s lives late into the perfect summer night. 

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