Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Essential Ingredient.

Often the best recipes are the simplest. A few classic ingredients, of fine quality, with a single unexpected ingredient can be found utterly satisfying. For example, a lavender infused cupcake. Fennel in buttery cookies. Apples in a ham (and brie) sandwich.

The unexpected ingredient I have been delighted to include in so many memorable meals during my summer days in Bellingham has been good company.

This afternoon we took apples and cheese to the park, so the sweet yet crazy kids I was babysitting could cool off in the water.

Earlier in the day, I sat down for lunch with a lovely view of Bellingham Bay on my left and a dear friend across the table.

Last week we couldn't resist the waterfront either, so my sister and a friend and I went to Boulevard Park, carting along hummus, pita, a cucumber, and plums. The sun was so brilliant that every single picture was washed out, even for being taken at 6 o'clock, but that didn't affect the taste of the food or the enjoyment of the conversation.

Fortunately an ingredient like good friends can be found almost everywhere. Sometimes a person just has to look harder, but that's the wonderful thing about food...someone's always looking for a meal, and sharing one makes it taste twice as good.

Oh, and did I mention dinner tonight? It was one of my favorite simple dinners: homemade pizza. We sauteed mushrooms and layered them on top of pesto along with sun dried tomatoes and plenty of fresh mozzarella. The pizza dough was hurriedly picked up at Trader Joe's though my mom has a fabulous twenty-minute from-scratch recipe I often use. Nibbling at that pizza with an open bottle of wine and three lovely ladies around the table was a perfect finish to a sun-soaked summer day in the Northwest.

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