Community + Food = Love

I’d like to share something close to my heart…the intersection of food and friends.

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Last week I had my close, dear friends Leslie Wilson and Anne Mateer over for lunch. We’ve been part of Life Sentence, our 3-person critique group for nearly a decade now. We even kept the magic going when I lived in France. We’d critique our work over Skype, while they propped a picture of me on their monitors.

I love those girls.

Every week we gather for critique and food. I thought I’d give you snapshot of what we ate this time around. (Fun side note: these recipes are in my cookbook, The Irresistible Table, that releases tomorrow. Wait until then to purchase it if you’d like because you’ll receive three of my books as a thank you!)

First I made hibiscus tea. I bought the bulk hibiscus tea flowers from Amazon. I boiled about 1/2 cup of the tea in hot water until the water turned bright magenta. I didn’t add sugar (but you could, between 1/2 and 1 cup). DSC_0016

Then I strained it into a pitcher full of ice. It has an amazing, lemony, tangy flavor. And it’s terribly pretty.

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Next I cut tortilla strips with a sharp knife until I could fill up my cookie sheet with them. I tossed them with oil and salt and cooked at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

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This is how awesome they look when they’re done. Yum.

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And this is what they look like when added to Tortilla soup, along with cilantro, sour cream and cheese.

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Need the recipe? It’s here below. (Click to enlarge it).

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We had an amazing lunch, great conversation, good critique, full laughter, and the common joy of friendship that I find rare in this life. Oh how I love you, Leslie and Anne! You rock!

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After that I made a simple coulis (berries, sugar, boiled).

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Then I grilled store-bought poundcake. Treat it like you would a grilled cheese sandwich–butter both sides, then slap it on a griddle until each side browns.

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Pulverize the berries until they look like loose jam, then serve alongside the cake with whipped cream to boot.

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I truly believe that food and friends create community and joy. They take the edge off an impersonal world. That you make time to prepare a meal for friends or family shows you’re wild about people and you long to nurture both stomach and soul.

My cookbook goes on sale on Friday. It’s my prayer that it will help you reconnect with friends and your kitchen.

Q4u: What about you? When was the last time you ate with friends? What did you make? Or what was the most memorable meal you’ve had? Why was it memorable?

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