A few months back, I came upon a very interesting new blog named ReggieDarling. Right from the beginning, I knew the person behind it was right up my alley. He was witty, charming, well educated, a discerning collector, a beautiful writer and above all a gentleman, that rare species one only finds today in those of a certain age . We became virtual friends when I started to comment on his blog and that friendship became a real one this past weekend when I visited New York and Reggie Darling took Lindaraxa to one of her favorite restaurants, La Grenouille. Now, it takes a very generous and trusting soul to entertain a virtual stranger at such a temple of haut cuisine. But that is the kind of guy he is. We had a marvelous dinner, with an equally delightful Bordeaux and the added pleasure of meeting Boy Fenwick, Reggie Darling's partner in life and on the blog.
The beautiful flowers of La Grenouille
Usually a dinner like this just ends there. We meet, have a great chat, assert that the other is "for real" and get back to our blogs. But the next morning when I woke up I felt that I wanted to do my part and reciprocate such a nice gesture. Not only that, but I really wanted to do something nice for this man. So why not entertain Reggie D chez nous for Sunday Dinner?
Sunday night is the perfect time to entertain when you want to keep it simple. I know that New Yorkers, who eat out on most nights, really appreciate a home cooked meal, one where they don't have to dress up and where they can enjoy good old fashioned comfort food. So I rang my new friend, who immediately accepted, and the party was on! A couple of friends from out of town were also in the city and they were invited to round up the group.
After ascertaining the guest list for allergies and "can't eat" or "don't like" , I settled on Marcella Hazan's Lasagna Bolognese, a green salad and an Apple and Cranbery Crisp for dessert. I usually wouldn't pair these two on a menu, but the apples at the store looked divine and after all, what could be easier? You have to remember kitchens in New York are on the small side and my friend doesn't like to cook so the pantry and the gadgets are limited.
So there you have it. A home cooked meal for a New York guy who can eat anywhere he wants to...I think that's a match, don't you?
|Making the lasagna, still in my nightgown!|
The appetizers were simple. I had brought some Red Pepper Jelly from my local farmer's market as a gift for my hostess to serve over cream cheese with crackers. This is an old Southern appetizer which everyone seems to love and something you definitely would not find at a New York dinner party. Pork Rilletes, which I adore, were purchased at Dean & DeLuca although, in my humble opinion, mine are much better.
Saturday was a shopping day and the time to make the ragu which takes at least 4 hours to cook. Luckily, the Yankees were still in the playoffs so waiting while the sauce simmered away was no pain. On Sunday the lasagna was assembled, the apple crisp ready to bake, the table set and the New York Times read cover to cover. We even had time for a nice walk around the reservoir and a stab at the crossword puzzle.
|A gift of local apples from the guests of honor|
A nice evening was had by all and I was delighted to see everyone go for seconds, especially Reggie D. By 11:00 o'clock every dish was put away and the hostesses were tucked in their respective beds. Now, as Ina would say "How easy was that"?
I'm glad I have such nice friends in New York, some old, some new, but all great! Thank you for a wonderful time.
(Stay tuned for Part II where the lasagna recipe will be posted. It's much too long for one post.)
Apple Photo: B.Fenwick
top photo Country Living