Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An evening with friends

Seven years ago, my life-long friend, Elizabeth, got married. One of the bridal showers was given by family friend, Libby Strawn. Libby is an extraordinary cook and decided she wanted to invest her time and affection teaching a handful of young wives and moms some cooking skills. Somehow, I was privileged enough to be invited to join that small group, and all these years later, we are still learning so much from her. In addition to the confidence and advice she has given us in cooking, Libby has also taken an interest in our relationships with our kids and our husbands. We sit around her table or island discussing real life and recipes. Recently, she began rotating through our small group with individual lunches. To say we are all better for our time with her is an understatement. The friendships that we have grown are also priceless and precious treasures. Our kids and husbands really don't complain when we have class because they have had some pretty incredible meals thanks to Libby!

Last night, Libby decided to treat us to a Valentine's dinner of appetizers. Instead of teaching us how to cook these dishes, she just fed us. Between the 6 girls, there are 20 kids ages 11 and under. To NOT cook a meal is a great break; to actually sit at a table full of cherished women and chat over a delicious meal prepared with love is a dream. I think we were all moved beyond words. (Not that there were really any moments without words, I mean, seriously, there were 6 girls sitting around without kids!)

Libby's love and generosity is overwhelming. I know we are all looking forward to our next time together (Amy, we missed you last night!!). Thanks, Libby, we appreciate you and are so grateful for your investment! The returns are invaluable and eternal. (And thanks to your sweet husband, Jim, for sharing his wife and home with this little gaggle of girls!)

Here is a picture of all of us except Amy . . .

And here is a picture of the deliciousness that Libby prepared for us. I was literally sick with delight when I got home!

And in the spirit of Libby . . . I will share 3 of the recipes with you!

Proscitto-Wrapped Asparagus Spears
30 medium-thin asparagus spears
4 oz peppered Boursin cheese, softened
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 cup honey mustard
Trim asparagus stalks so that the spears are 5 inches long. In a deep skillet bring 1 1/2 inches salted water to a boil and cook the asparagus until they are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. In a colander drain the asparagus and rinse under cold water. Drain the asparagus well on paper towels.
In a bowl, mash the Boursin with a fork until it is smooth. Cut 1 slice of prosciutto lengthwise into 1-inch strips and spread each strip with about 1/2 tsp of Boursin. Spread about 1/4 tsp honey mustard over the Boursin and wrap each strip in a spiral around an asparagus spear, trimming any excess.

Captain Rodney's Cheese Bake
1/2 cup mayonaise
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 green onions, chopped
6 Ritz crackers, crumbled
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup Captain Rodney's Boucan Glaze
Mix first 4 ingredients, then spread in a square casserole dish. Sprinkle crackers on top. Cook at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Then sprinkle bacon on top and drizzle sauce over all.  Serve with your favorite crackers.

Easy Oreo Truffles
1 16-oz oackage Oreos
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
2 8-oz packages Baker's semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs. Place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls (1-inch diameter). Dip balls in melted chocolate and sprinkle with reserve cookie crumbs. Refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

Bon appetite!

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