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8 June: Monday

Indio, California: It is always a sad day, waking up with no grandkids to snuggle with... and only piles of laundry to greet our day. Dang, we miss them so terribly already. Lucy did leave us with a hand-drawn, stapled, COVID safety booklet. She drew diagrams of how to socially-distance, wash your hands, and wear a face mask. Lucy's childhood will be so much different than mine.

Dave and I had a dinner party tonight.

Oh, doesn't that sound so wonderful?

We did not, of course. Not really. Our neighbor, Steve, drove down from the Bay Area to retrieve their motorhome today. Usually, Steve or Lois let us know they are arriving, and I have dinner ready. Tonight was no different, except dinner was delivered to Steve - left outside on his golf cart - and he ate in peace.

Crackers with Pimento Cheese, Oregon hazelnuts,
dried apricots and figs

I had the teeniest chicken (barely three pounds) in the freezer, so it was thawed for Steve's arrival. The teeny bird was spatchcocked (backbone removed, and butterflied), then marinated all afternoon in a cup of lemon juice (also from the freezer!), fresh rosemary from our garden, at least six cloves of chopped garlic, Kosher salt and pepper. DT grilled the bird (let's just say it was "extra crispy" on the outside). Super moist inside, and really delicious from the lovely marinade.

Probably would not have served a side-dish, because there was a tossed salad... but since we were not having company, I went all-out and prepared a long-time favorite dish: Orzo Gratin. This recipe was from a cooking magazine somewhere back in the 80's - I think Gourmet - and it is very delicious because it is loaded with cream and cheese. I only used one cup of orzo today, and only guessed at the rest of the amounts (and never added chicken stock at all), but it turned-out very delicious... because it is pasta and cream and cheese. Best thing about the recipe? It can be made earlier in the day and baked just before serving. Win-win.

After Steve had his Solitary Supper, he returned his dishes (and a bottle of bubbly as our reward!) and joined us for a glass of wine while sitting ten feet across from us. We are so gracious - the Vanderbilt's are amateurs.

Until my next update - when a team of service people will arrive to look at our aged drop-down screens, I remain, your cheesy correspondent.


This very popular casserole can be served as a side dish or makes a great vegetarian entree. Orzo casserole can be made earlier in the day and baked before serving.
1 pound orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
 1 cup heavy cream
 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
 1 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese, divided
 1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
 ¼ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
Cook orzo and garlic together in a large pot of boiling water, about 10 minutes, or until done. Rinse and drain. Peel and mash garlic. Mix garlic with cream, stock, 3/4 cup of the cheese and parsley. Add orzo and place mixture into a large oiled baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle bread crumbs over all. Bake at 325° for one hour, or until brown, bubbly, and crunchy on top.
Serves 6.

7 thoughts

  1. Dinner sounds wonderful!
    Wish we could have a dinner party with you 😥

  2. It all looks really good! I’m anxious to try the orzo gratin since it’s one of my favorite pastas. Would love to know what kind of crackers those are and where you get them. They look special to go with our evening 🍸🍷.

  3. YUM! Would this be as good if speed cooked in your Microwave/convection oven? Or is this one of these “only in the oven” receipes? If so, how would you adjust cooking?

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