In the Sweet Spot of Weather

The past few evenings we’ve been enjoying dinner outside.

We’re in the “sweet spot” of middle Georgia weather….the blast of heat that hits you as you open the door has faded and the chill of fall and winter isn’t here yet. It’s a perfect time to enjoy a meal outdoors!

A few weeks ago I thought I heard someone calling me as I walked past my back door.

Who’s that?

Oh, that’s just my table in the nook of our backyard patio.  “Come on, baby,” I hear my table say in a sultry Barry White kinda way.  “You know you been missin’ me.  All them suppers inside can’t satisfy like I do”, it croons.

I close my eyes and smile as the memory of outdoor dinners by candlelight and starlight tantalizes me.

Before it got so infernally hot, that is.

“Soon,” I whisper.

Days pass. My patio table beckons me: “How long you gone make me wait, girl?  You know you wanna be with me.”

Finally, the promised night comes.  I count the hours, then minutes as twilight turns to darkness.

On the menu?

  • Swordfish encrusted with sesame seed and thyme                 (topped with roasted peppers)
  • Shitake mushrooms
  • Basmati rice  
  • Spinach salad
To make the swordfish, you’ll need:
  • 3 tbs.  EVOO
  •  Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz. swordfish loin
  • 2 tablespoons  sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 tbs.  fresh or dried thyme leaves
  • 1/8 tsp.  kosher salt
  •  Lemon wedges
  • Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Mix lemon juice, oil and pepper in a bowl. Add fish and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, combine sesame seeds and thyme in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the fish with salt and coat evenly with the sesame seed mixture, covering the sides as well as the top. Transfer the fish to the prepared baking sheet and roast until just cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.

My personal chef extraordinaire (AKA husband) concocted this delicious dish of shitake mushrooms.  He’s not one for exact measurements or times, so here’s his rendition of how it’s done:

  • Saute chopped shitake mushrooms and 1 chopped shallot in olive oil and butter.  (amount: whatever you like.)
  • Add salt, pepper and a dash of white wine at the end. (time: till wine evaporates.)

Add nutty basmati rice, a simple spinach salad with oil and vinegar and you’re done!  (Either the mushrooms are under the swordfish or I took the photo too soon before getting them on the plate.  Pretend you see mushrooms.)

We light the candles, turn on some tunes, but not too loud….we want to hear the symphony of crickets.

Friends begin to venture out to say hello.

(Don’t send me emails about this part. Yes, I’m aware that most consider them to be pests.  But ours are well-mannered pests.)

And as we bask in the perfect evening, another 70’s song comes to mind: “Reunited and it feels so good.”

Hello, again, dear patio table…it’s been much too long.

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