A few Friday nights ago, we hosted our first little dinner party. We invited our friendly neighbors, Roly and Sherly, to join us for wine and dinner. Congenial and jolly are the best two words to describe Roly’s vibrant personality. Sherly is from a small town in Brasil and is much more subdued and also very sweet. And boy, does she make a mean chocolate cake!

THE MENU:

Ensalada Mixta a La Española

– 4 cups of torn hearts of romaine lettuce

– 1/2 medium Vidalia (sweet) onion, slivered

– 1 small carrot, scraped and coarsely grated

– 2 ripe small tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ wedges

– 2 large hard-boiled eggs, sliced

– Freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt

– 1/4 cup light-meat tuna in olive oil in chunks (preferably Spanish)

– 16 small Spanish green olives with or without pits

– Dressing: drizzle with oil and mild white wine vinegar

* Place the lettuce on a large serving platter, scatter on the onion, and cover with grated carrot. Arrange the egg slices and tomato wedges around the edges of the plate. Sprinkle everything with salt & pepper. Place the tuna in the center of the salad and scatter with olives. Dress to taste with olive oil and vinegar. Serve.

Caro’s Classic Cannellini Bean Pasta

– 1 pound penne pasta

– 4 ripe, red tomatoes, cubed

– 5-6 cloves of garlic, diced

– 1/4 cup olive oil

– 6-8 Sundried tomatoes, diced

– 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

– Fresh parmesan cheese, grated

– 1 teaspoon capers

– Fresh shredded Basil for garnish

– Crushed red pepper flakes

Boil salty water, and 1 pound penne pasta and cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sauté garlic and tomatoes in olive oil for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat. Add sundried tomatoes and cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes more, stirring often. Remove from heat, combine with drained pasta. Sprinkle capers, fresh basil, grated parmesan and a healthy amount of crushed red pepper flakes over the top of each dish. Bon appetit!

Wine

“Si vino y no toma vino, porqué vino?”

Dessert

Sherly’s deadly, decadent, delicious chocolate cake (aka a glorified donut). We don’t even want to know the ingredients, but imagine lots of sweetened condensed milk is involved.

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