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Lately, one of the things I most enjoy is sharing a casual dinner and a few glasses of wine with friends. When we visited our friends Jason and Joanna in Eugene and they opened their homes to us, I wanted to take advantage of their large, open-plan kitchen and 6-burner stove and cook them dinner.

We had fresh mussels steamed with shallots, white wine, and sweet little orange tomatoes from their bountiful garden. After the mussels were done, I ladled them out into a bowl, reduced the broth to half, and then stirred in a few tablespoons of butter. I was excited to cook with real butter since we don’t usually have it around our kitchen. It made a heavenly, silky sauce to dip bread in.

Dinner in Eugene

For sides, we had smashed new potatoes fried in olive oil and rosemary, green beans with garlic and almonds, roasted cauliflower, and crostini topped with a goat cheese and sun dried tomato spread (previously mentioned here).

The dinner went great with two wines we picked up from the local market which was suspiciously like Whole Paycheck, but called Market of Choice. Will assures me that it is not just a rebranding of Whole Paycheck. We started the dinner off with a fizzy Txakolina and finished it with a tasty Oregon pink wine which I think was a rosé made from pinot noir.

Dessert was a blackberry pie-like thing made from fresh blackberries we picked that afternoon.  It’s still a novelty to me that you can get out of your car on the side of the road and just pick blackberries from one of the many overgrown bushes along  a little stream.  I think dessert was a hit with the kids.

pie_time

Eating in the dining room with the double doors open to the sunset was the perfect pairing to dinner. I love summer!

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