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cards and dinner

george and Julie

Last night, we had George and Julie over for cards and dinner. You may remember George and Julie as the “side vs. salad” couple from the 4th of July party. That’s George sitting on the cool deck and Julie in the blue top on the far right.

limoncello lemonade

We’ve always been a big “cards family.” We play either Hearts, Spades, Rummy 500, Pinochle, or Gin Rummy with my dad nearly every Sunday. So “cards and dinner” is nothing new at our house, but having another couple over for that explicit reason is.

jars and crackers

I had family obligations all morning and into the early afternoon, so dinner had to be fast and easy. I made a quick cocktail by whizzing a few frozen mixed berries in the blender with about a cup of purchased lemonade. I strained out the seeds and put the mixture in a pitcher and then added the rest of the bottled lemonade and popped that in the fridge to chill. When it was time to serve, I poured the berry lemonade and an ounce of vodka over ice and topped it off with a splash of homemade limoncello. Cocktail Done!

When Dave got home from work, I asked him to scour the refrigerator for olives and the pantry for smoked fish and pâté and arrange it on a platter with some crackers and grissini breadsticks.  Snacks Done!

Below is the recipe for one of the two salads I made, the other will follow in a day or so.

orzo salad

Orzo Salad with Bocconcini, Snap Peas, and Tomatoes

2 cups sugar snap peas
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup orzo pasta
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
8-ounce package bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls), halved
3 tablespoons each; minced dill, minced Italian parsley, and minced chives
Zest from 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Snap off the stem end of each sugar snap pea while pulling down to remove the string.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add salt and the snap peas and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon or a spider to remove the snap peas from the water and transfer them to a colander. Let the water in the saucepan return to a boil. Run cold water over the peas to stop the cooking and retain the bright green color.


Drain well and then slice each snap pea in half, on the diagonal. Transfer to a large serving bowl.


Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and then transfer to the serving bowl with the peas.

Add the tomato and bocconcini halves to the bowl, along with all the minced fresh herbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice along with the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat well. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serves 4 to 6

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1 comment

1 Marissa { 08.05.14 at 6:20 AM }

Sounds delicious! I am sure Connor was happy that he didn’t have to play this time.

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