Dinner with Sheez Late

Friday July 30, 2010

Amy, if you don’t already know, is a member of Sheez Late, which is an original band she and the guys Ron, Joe, & Hugh formed several years ago in Worcester, MA. Since Amy and I moved to Springfield (a year ago tomorrow 8/5), Sheez Late got back together and let me tell you they are awesome! However, one member of Sheez Late, Hugh, does not live in the area. But Amy does cover a few of Hugh’s songs and one song in particular, Green Light, is a favorite of mine. You should catch a gig sometime and see for yourself. Get more info on Sheez Late here http://www.reverbnation.com/sheezlate or http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000466221719&v=wall&ref=ts or http://www.myspace.com/sheezlate

The weekend of the 3oth Hugh and his beautiful family were back visiting the area. So, what a perfect occasion for a reunion dinner party. I volunteered to bring a few dishes and after my Foster Reviews Friday morning I got crazy in the kitchen. Amy and I left around 5:15 or so and drove to Joe’s house and the three of us drove out to Ron & Janet’s beautiful home. The drive to their house was an adventure.

Try to picture the two quietest members of the band chatting it up in the Baja while I am driving blindly with no idea of what town Ron even lives in. And those two chatty boxes forgot that I had no clue as to where we were going. I was just driving and driving and driving. Yes, we got lost….twice. Joe and Amy are laughing and talking and it’s great but then Joe suddenly or maybe it was Amy, realized we passed the exit and so we had to make this huge backtracking circle to get back on track. It was a hoot. But, we made it to the party finally only an unfashionable hour late. I managed to keep my anxiety level somewhat in check as the Southern Belle in me was devastated that I hadn’t arrived early enough to assist the hostess in prepping for the party as I said I would, but Janet had everything under control and the party was rolling along splendidly.

We all shared an amazing evening. It was especially fantastic listening to the history between the band members and their family’s. I think that sort of camaraderie is rare and I much enjoyed sharing the magic that connects the group and has lovingly not falter over time. For dinner, Ron and Janet provided us all with beautifully grilled herbed chicken, an assortment of hors d’oeuvres including fresh pesto, humus, & guacamole, and Janet even prepare two homemade pies for dessert, one of which is my all time favorite Key Lime Pie. She also made this amazingly delicious White Sangria and shared the recipe with me and I hope to give it a whirl soon.

Of course I over did it as usual. I made a pasta salad tossed in EVOO & red wine vinegar with fresh rosemary, chopped rainbow chard stems, toasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, and crumbled feta, and I also made a simple wagon wheel mac -n- cheese dish baked in a plain cheese sauce of soy milk and Cabot white cheddar for the kids. As if that wasn’t too much already I also made rainbow chard wraps with fresh avocado, prosciutto, toasted chickpeas, and feta in a cilantro-yogurt sauce. I hate to brag 😉 but the rainbow chard wraps were divine. Okay, I realize someone so needed to tell me that 8 adults and 4 kids (two of which are under two) is not as many people as it sounds. But, alas no one stopped me so I went on to also prepare a fresh Caprese Salad with plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (that I bought at Milnano Imported Fine Foods, Inc on Main Street in downtown Springfield), fresh basil of course, and then drizzled the salad with EVOO & a Balsamic Reduction I made with one cup Balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. It too was amazing. Oh but it doesn’t end there as I also made a Roasted Fennel Succatosh that I actually forgot to even bring. Yikes!

And let’s not forget the Watermelon Spritzer. Oh how I cringe remembering the WaterMelon Spritzer that I attempted to make for the kids (well technically Ron and Janet’s kids aren’t kids anymore they are 13) The spritzer was what I thought was going to be an extremely easy recipe that I found online, which simply called for lemon-lime soda mixed with muddled fresh watermelon. Right. I brought the ingredients for the spritzer and planned on mixing it in Janet’s beautiful kitchen. Well, the recipe failed to mention that there was going to be an explosive chemical reaction. I was mortified to say the least. I poured the lemon-lime soda into my pitcher and then added the muddled fresh watermelon…..it spewed like an angry volcano. There was sticky watermelon soda everywhere! I panicked. Janet’s kitchen was meticulous and here I’ve not been in it five minutes and it’s a mess! But she was gracious and along with Amy’s help we managed to clean it all up. Ends up that the kids were too busy playing to care about a silly spritzer anyway. I now laugh about it but at the time I just wanted to die! 😉 When will I learn simple is best?

But aside from that little mishap, the dinner was a beautiful success. It was a perfect evening sitting back on the patio with music drifting over the breeze, the warm scent of Janet’s flower garden, and the sizzling sound of Ron at the grill coupled by the sweet laughter of Hugh’s youngest daughter. I am fortunate to have meet Amy and the band. I thought it was lovely to listen to all the reminiscing and to get to know the band and their family’s better. I hope we make a habit of hanging out and the next dinner party I’ll try not to over-do it so much….yeah right.

Needless to say, we returned home with more food than the two of us could possible handle. So, what I did was make a hodge-podge pot of soup using the wagon wheel dish, the roasted fennel succotash, a bit of water, and two fresh tomatoes. It was delicious and makes for a good, quick lunch. I also used the left over ingredients to make a second Caprese Salad (per Amy’s request) for our dinner Saturday evening. I simply bought fresh made whole wheat sliced Ciabatta to go along with the salad and it was a perfect dinner. We enjoyed it out on the back porch with colorful lights on and soft wild woman music playing in the background.

It  is most difficult to express with mere words how eternally grateful I am to finally have a home I feel safe and loved in. And the only thing that feels more amazing than that is having someone to share said home with. I am truly thankful and will share it with you anytime you like as there will always be good food, good wine, good music, and beautiful women at T’s house 😉

Oh and don’t forget to check out the band for Sheez Late would love to see you!

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