We had Charlie and Defne over for dinner (plus a late-night postprandial swim in our clothes)
- aperitifs of Charlie's fancy, fragrant French absinthe poured into a glass, with cold water slowly poured into it through a sugarcube on a cut silver spoon, till the liquid was a cloudy pale yellow
- green leaf lettuce salad with walnuts, dressed with chopped shallots, lemon juice, flaxseed oil, EVOO, sweet and spicy mustard, salt, pepper, dried tarragon, and dried thyme
- sauteed asparagus dressed with herb and fried shallot compound butter
- crisp-fried polenta slices (not fresh--we bought a tube from the store) topped with a tomato sauce made from canned crushed tomatoes, soffritto (garlic, onion, carrot, celery), a fresh chopped tomato, a bay leaf, fresh basil from Aarthi's garden, oregano, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper; and sauteed white button mushrooms
- red lentils cooked with soy sauce, garlic, soffritto (garlic, onion, carrot, celery), fresh rosemary from Aarthi's garden, dried oregano, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, chopped fresh tomatoes, soy sauce, fresh parsley, fresh chopped spinach, bay leaf, salt, and pepper
- rice pudding: a cup or so of brown basmati rice gently cooked, uncovered, with a can of coconut milk and water, seasoned with cardamom pods, vanilla extract, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, star anise, dark brown sugar, a tiny pinch of salt, and maple syrup from Steve and Amalia's farm.