Friday, February 04, 2011

Won't YOU Be My Neighbor?

We've been attempting to cultivate a genuine community in our neighborhood of 3 years...and by golly, I think we've done it.

Last summer we hosted a neighborhood BBQ at the tail end of the summer and chatted our way into the evening over steak, sun-dried tomato pasta salad, and accouterments provided by our our 4 sets of guests...which included 9 adults and 3 kids! People who had lived next to each other for over 10 years hardly knew each other and many commented, "This feels like a real neighborhood!" And that was exactly what I was hoping for.

Well, all this cold weather hasn't hindered our neighborly spirit, despite spending nearly all of our time indoors. We delivered cookies this Christmas and just last night invited our sweet neighbor, Lise, over for dinner. This was not the first time we've dined with her and I know it won't be the last...but I had to share how thankful I am to have her as our talk chickens, gardens, have her adore Wes, just as we do! Do you know your neighbors? I know your life will be richer if you do!

And if you happen to have them over for dinner, might I suggest a menu?

Chicken Marbella with Israeli Couscous
Herb salad with bell peppers, pumpkin seeds, parmesan and simple olive oil & balsamic

For dessert?  Why I'm glad you asked...this recipe couldn't be easier or more delicious and quite possibly you might have the ingredients already on hand.  A perfect addition to any meal, but especially decadent with Valentine's right around the corner.

Individual Molten Chocolate Cake

I know these are popular, I just didn't realize how simple they are and I want to thank Alisha for lending me Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard...and thank you too, Elizabeth, for introducing me to this, soon to be staple, recipe!

1 stick unsalted butter (8 tbs)
5 oz 70% dark chocolate
Pinch of coarse sea salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs flour

Preheat oven to 450.  Melt butter and chocolate in microwave or double boiler.  Beat together eggs, yolks and sugar with wisk or electric beater until light and slightly foamy.  Add to butter and chocolate and combine.  Add flour and stir just to combine.  The batter will be thick, shockingly thick. Pour into 4 individual ramekins (I used my adorable Le Creuset ones with lids).  At this point you can place it in the fridge and bake later, but be sure to bring it back to room temp before baking.  Bake for 8.5 min, serve immediately.  Center should be gooey and delicious!  We ate ours with vanilla ice cream!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend and maybe even work up the courage to invite your neighbor over for a home-cooked meal.


Kristen said...

:) so happy you posted this, jenny. definitely hoping to try out these amazing recipes soon!

i think more and more people are seeking to cultivate this kind of richness in life through relationships with their neighbors. kyle and i (and our boys) are continually blessed by the friendships we have with the folks (of all ages) living around us. and i love how these relationships are woven into our family's story... one neighbor ironing Kyle's dress shirt the day of our wedding; having boys the same age as ours living right next door and across the street and watching them all grow; having been pregnant with these mamas, then being the mamas of newborns, together, etc. i will admit though--we do tend to see more of each other when the weather is nice and warm(er). i admire you for hosting a dinner date with your neighbor and being so intentional! and i echo your sentiments: God has a treasure trove waiting for all of us in cultivating these relationships with our neighbors!

Brianne said...

Nice work Jenny :)
The neighbors to our right frown and turn their backs whenever I say hi...and our neighbors to the left are funny- the husband gets shy and acts like he doesn't hear me...but his wife is a chatter box whenever we see each other at the mailbox. Maybe it's different with renters, even though we've been here for 4 years?!?

Casey said...

I agree, you are lucky to have such a great community! With the exception of one of our neighbors, most in our area keep to themselves and won't return our "hellos."

I have read that same book and earmarked the I know I have to give it a go, it looks delicious!

Chelsea Lane said...

hiii Jenny! I just randomly found your blog, and I'm absolutely captivated by your wesley, your little chicks, and your life in general. so much fun! :)



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