La Quinta, California: Lisa and Lenny brought the kids out for a five-day stay. We had no plans (except to celebrate Lenn's birthday... that was actually a week ago). Just fun. Pool time. Family time.
Prepare yourself for a lot of food photos.
To celebrate Lenny's Big Day, I prepared a version of Mushroom Bourguignon and served it with polenta from the Instantpot. Lenny is vegetarian, and he really enjoyed the stew.) Individual mac & cheeses for the grandkids, as I did not think they would enjoy the stew AT ALL.)
Lenny loves iced mocha drinks, so thought an ice cream tiramisu-frozen-cake-thing would be fun. Problem was, lady fingers soaked in coffee and frozen get all icy and the dessert was not very good. At All. Lenny took one for the
His Mother-in-Law totally recovered the next day by preparing a meal Lenny loved.
Appetizers this night included Rosemary Cashews, pickled things, cheese, and plenty of veg. For dinner, we enjoyed Chicken and Peach sausages (from Bristol Farms) for the meat eaters; Beyond sausages for the vegetarians.
While Dave was grilling the sausages, he also grilled Shishito peppers on skewers. Lisa dressed the peppers in soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil.
The best part of the meal was a salad made with wonderful ripe peaches and burrata cheese.... drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garnished with fresh basil leaves from our garden.
Basically replacing tomatoes in a caprese salad with peeled peaches. So yummy.
And this old lady fully redeemed herself by serving an organic cherry tart (made with purchased puff pastry). Lenny loves cherry pie... and this was close-enough.
This pie was constructed while we all watched the end of the Tour de France. What a great race this year.
So... after dinner, while I was doing the dishes, the family went fishing in the pond behind our house. Just using a "kid" fishing pole and sliced deli turkey as bait, Lucy snagged a whopper of a fish! She couldn't even reel it in, so Bubba had to help her:
Poor thang! It was at least 110-degrees (after dinner!) when this 3-pound catfish was dragged out of the water. I was summoned to help. The hook was so imbedded, it took me several attempts to remove the metal from the jaw. Lisa tossed the catfish back into the drink, and it swam quickly away... so we assumed she/he lived to tell the tale.
I think it is much-more enjoyable to spend time IN OUR POOL instead of fishing in the stinky pond. Just my opinion.
The next day we ordered sushi (Lenny picked it up from Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar in La Quinta), and had ice cream (not even homemade!) for dessert. No photos.
Next we went to France, with a cheesy appetizer plate and Salad Nicoise for dinner.
Lucy provided dessert this evening. She made a Smores Pie baking kit from Baketivity. Not going to lie, this was not a pie. It was a cake, baked in a graham cracker crust in a pie dish... but Lucy and I had a great time putting the three layers together and I only have one small burn on my arm from the "toasting the marshmallows under a broiler" phase.
The last day of their visit was the best day. Though we had spent hours in the pool every day, we all spent a lot of time in the pool today. We golfed. We walked. We biked. The grandkids love to ride their bikes (or take the golf cart) to the refreshment stations on the golf course to fill their water bottles with "free" lemonade. They think this is the best thing ever.
I made a simple refried bean skillet bake (make your own tacos from the beans - buffet style). After dinner, the guys wanted to walk down the golf cart path to see the waterfall (that has finally been repaired and was flowing). Lisa and Lucy were poolside. Lucy started whinging about wanting to go down to the waterfall. Lisa pushed Lucy in the pool. Even though Lisa was wearing a very expensive dress, and had just spent an hour blow-drying/straightening her hair, I pushed Lisa in the pool... then ran into the house to don my bather... before I was next. The guys returned from their adventure and joined us in the pool. It was dark, but the pool lights were on, so it was quite magical. Leo asked Alexa to play some nice music. We had ourselves a rager for at least two hours. It was a very fun evening and exactly why we purchased this house!
After swimming for two hours, the kids made s'mores!
I still can't believe Lisa isn't mad at me for throwing her in pool!
The Four L's packed it up this morning and hit the road back to El Lay. What a wonderful wonderful wonderful visit. We miss them all so much already.
Leo is 9. Lucy is 6. Next month, they have birthdays.
Until my next update, I remain, your epic correspondent.
NOTE TO READERS: The recipe archive has been updated a bit. All appetizer and cocktail recipes are now available - with an option to print.