Grotto dinner with friends (August 2,8 2010)

The Event

Craig and I have hardly entertained this year; in fact, I don’t think we’ve had anyone over for dinner except in the most casual, last minute fashion. So, we decided to finally have some friends over for a lovely al fresco dinner at the end of the summer. This gave me an opportunity to try our our charcoal grill for a larger group (previously, I’d only grilled food for Craig and I, as I learned how to cook over charcoal vs. using our gas grill).

We were fortunate, the weather was not too warm, not too cold. We were able to dine in the grotto with no need for jackets, dining well into the evening. I was able to use the placemats and napkins that Leonie had made for us as a wedding gift, and they were quite well-received (if a man notices how nice the placemats are, they must be very special!) Our guests brought some delicious red wine to complement the meal (we easily polished off all bottles!) and I would say that our summer dinner was a smashing success!


  • Salami, German bologna, cheeses as appetizer
  • Grill roasted Cornish game hens with “pantry spice” rub (CI)
  • Spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette (CI)
  • Apple compote (recipe from Tante Tini)
  • French bread
  • Peach pie with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (CI)

  • Pete and Kim Young
  • Patrick Owens and Julie Buckner

Food Notes
  • Use a little more cinnamon on the apples.
  • The tapioca in the peach pie should be ground (like a spice) before adding to the peaches. This would eliminate any concerns about the tapioca bulking up. (Check the blueberry pie recipe for instructions.)
  • Cut back on the bologna order! Also, maybe get some olives for the appetizer.
  • The spinach salad is really a great recipe. You can also do a lot ahead of time, which is helpful.


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