Saturday 12 September
Tonight our friends Susan and Mike had planned an end-of-summer backyard barbeque, inviting us and their friend Debby to welcome our dear retired head librarian, Jean, back from Florida. But fate was less than co-operative. The skies grew grey; it drizzled, then poured. The temperature plummeted. To top it off, Jean got sick and couldn't come. But when we drove up that evening, they had the grill set up, fire blazing, and just moved dinner indoors.
Our part for the potluck was our Garden of Eden pole beans (plus a few purple Carminats), done the old fashioned way: melted a batch of bacon grease in a deep pot, sizzled a whole chopped onion and 2-3 garlic cloves in it, then piled in a couple of pounds of these heavy green beans, sliced into short sections. Added water to almost cover and salt to taste, and simmered them for two hours until they were meltingly tender. At last, added pepper and salt, and let them cool down for transport (also, you want to eat them warm, not hot).
While Mike went out and grilled a couple of salmon fillets seasoned with rosemary, Debby produced a variety of vegetables from Fresh Table at Findlay Market: beet and goat cheese, mushrooms and celery in mayonnaise, and some delicious crispy chickpeas with grape tomatoes and olives. So when the fish was done, we filled our plates to capacity, and then ourselves.
For dessert, Susan had made a batch of her famous lemon bars (she knows how Barbara feels about lemon) and little cups of cheesecake on red velvet crusts. By that time, the rain had passed, so we could sit outside, watch Mike feed wood to the blaze in the fire-pit, and pet the dogs and chat and sip scotch, as so inclined.Thanks, Mike and Susan; you took an unpromising day and turned it into a perfect backyard barbeque in the end.