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The Library Ladies

Tonight Dave and I hosted the Dean of the University of Oregon Library, Deborah Carver and Lisa Manotti, Director of Library Development, for dinner at Taylor Manor. Previously, we had underwritten an ambitious project at the library - Athletics and the Academy - a process of digitalizing photographs depicting the history of sports at the University, but now we help the library to procure collections. A few times a year, we all get together to discuss the always exciting library. We are usually guests of the library, but this time DT and I decided to switch things up a bit and invited Deb and Lisa here.

Honestly, we really enjoy Lisa & Deb (and their husbands - both named John!) and since DT and I enjoy entertaining guests in our home - it was a no-brainer that tonight would be fun.

We had pretty flowers in the kitchen...

 ... because we had a casual dinner in the kitchen! More comfy. Cozier than the dining room.

We had more pretty flowers to greet our guests, cocktails on the chilly, damp patio and a yummy nosh to enjoy before dinner:

If you have not tried Ina Garten's (The Barefoot ContessaRosemary Cashews, get yourself right out to the grocer to procure the ingredients. This bowl of nuts disappeared. (NOTE: I have made the nuts 378 times - approximately - and use half the brown sugar recommended and usually give a few twists of the pepper mill over the whole mess too. Just sayin'.)

I served Chianti Beef over rigatoni. (Recipe posted tomorrow, probably.) This is a classic Italian recipe, usually requiring beef chuck stew meat... and usually served with big chunky bits of beef. My People like brisket, so I use brisket. I prefer smaller chunks of shredded beef in the savory tomato sauce. So delicious. So thick. So easy - and is best made the day/night before. (My recipe uses an entire bottle of Chianti and serves 6-8.) Perfect for a party! Everything tonight - except the shredded cheese garnish - was organic! We also served a Caesar Salad.

For dessert, I had planned to serve a teeny sliver of brownie with a little scoop of fat-free frozen yogurt, topped with sliced strawberries. I went to the liquor cabinet to get the Cointreau (orange liquor), which is what I usually use to macerate the fruit... but when I opened the door to the liquor cabinet my eyes fell upon a half-full/empty bottle of Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka (left over from a winter-day football game tail gate party that must have included adult hot chocolate???). Not sure of the quality of the stuff - it is made in Maine - but I can tell you a few tablespoons of whipped cream vodka poured over a few cups of sliced berries was simply spectacular. Maybe this would be something fun for your 4th of July BBQ??? (NOTE: not for the kidlets!)

Dave and I enjoyed a lovely evening with lively library conversation. Isn't it interesting - in this day of Google and instant internet access to information - that use of public and university libraries is higher than ever? And this access is FREE! Let's keep it that way - love and support your library!

Until my next update, I remain, your whipped correspondent.