It is a treat to have good neighbors. It is even more of a treat if these good neighbors are also your dear friends.  I am fortunate to have such a situation, for living directly across the street from me is a crazy, caring, light hearted, endearing, retired couple, Morris and Sandy, who I consider part of my extended family.  Morris is a retired attorney, who spends much of his time reading the paper, watching sports, and planning the placement of his outdoor Christmas lights and blow mold figures. Sandy is an avid gardener who brings a new meaning to the term ‘square foot gardening’,  cultivating numerous kinds of produce from blueberries to heirloom tomatoes.

Sandy and Morris love to travel, and usually take several extended trips each year to exciting international locations. This year between Turkey in the fall, Morris’s Christmas light show extravaganza, and a recent cruise to Tahiti, we had not had the chance to sit down together and properly catch up. So a few night ago Sandy invited us to a wonderful dinner in their beautiful home.

After a hectic commute across the street, we began the evening gathered around the island in their fabulous new kitchen with champagne toasted in hand painted stemware that Sandy collected from a local artisan on a fall trip to Redstone, Colorado.  As usual, much humor ensued and Morris poured.

The couple also unveiled their preliminary drawings for an outdoor entertainment deck to be built off of the new kitchen through french doors.  Like many remodeling projects the deck became a domino effect of the new kitchen.

One of the many things I have always appreciated about Sandy is that she knows the art of setting a table, and works to keep the tradition of civilized dining alive.  I find this remarkable, fully understanding how much time and effort goes into creating such a table.

We dined in the blue room, starting off with a Mediterranean salad made with calamata olives, feta cheese, and fresh basil, along with a loaf of Sandy’s fresh baked french bread.  For the main course we were treated to paper salmon,  roasted fingerling potatoes, and a sautéed mixture of fresh asparagus and mushrooms. The wine flowed, tall tales were shared, much humor ensued, and Morris poured.

The meal was topped off with a slice of pie straight out of oven, prepared by our hostess using her mother’s crust recipe and blueberries from her garden.  A cup of fresh brewed coffee was the perfect companion to this delightful dessert and a perfect ending to a wonderful evening of good food and good friends.

To prepare Paper Salmon:

  • salmon fillets
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parchment paper
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons, thinly sliced

Place a large baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly brush all sides of salmon with olive oil, and place in the center of piece of parchment paper. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped basil and top with lemon slices.

Fold sides of parchment up over salmon to form an envelope, leaving no openings, and secure with a toothpick. Place packages directly on the hot baking sheet already in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer to plates and carefully open packages to release steam before serving.

 

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