Having grown up in a small town, it’s often hard for me to recall how long I’ve known someone or when I first met them. I’ve known my best friend, Nikki Sea, since before I can remember and most of my graduating class in high school I knew in preschool.
One of the people I have no recollection of being introduced to is my friend Florence. I actually remember her from my kindergarten class, though it’s very possible we met before that. While she and I were never really close, we shared enough mutual good friends to stay aware of each other throughout the years, though we could have very easily never spoken again after high school.
But strangely, as social media fate would have it, I can thank Myspace for reconnecting us about 6 or 7 years ago. I can also thank our shared love for drinking wine, eating good food and gossiping about our former schoolmates for cementing our growing friendship.
While she is currently living in Alaska, every summer Florence spends a few weeks in Portland, taking classes and tests for her studies. And every visit she sends me a text, sometimes after a full 12 months with no contact, saying she is in town. And just like that, it’s on — we do what we do best: we drink a bottle of bubbles and stuff ourselves silly while rehashing the past and catching up on the present.
And, with each visit, it strikes me that it really is just amazing how the people who I grew up seem understand each other on a different level…maybe making it through our formative years together on a tiny island in the gulf of Alaska also helps. It’s hard for other people to really understand that type of childhood. “I guess you had to be there” doesn’t begin to cover it.
So suffice to say, I love it when Florence comes to town. It’s like a visit home without the travel. And with a better wine selection!
For this year’s visit, which took place last weekend, I cooked dinner for us to enjoy on my new patio. To start, I made a recipe I had been wanting to try out for a few weeks, these Ricotta Stuffed Peppers. In fact, after seeing a picture of them on The Birthday Dinner blog, I was the one who requested the recipe. Thankfully Tim and Shannon were kind enough to share it.
I started by mixing up the ricotta with the lemon the other ingredients. But since I had forgotten to buy thyme at the grocery store, I added a few extra flavor supplements: a few cloves of roasted garlic, a quarter cup of grated Parmesan and some Calabrian chile oil.
Here are the pretty, pretty pre-baked peppers:
They were the highlight of our dinner for sure — we scarfed them down like there was no tomorrow. Good thing they were just the appetizers!
In fact, they were so good, I’ve already bought more peppers to make a second batch for dinner tonight. Sadly Florence won’t be joining me, but I’m already looking forward to next summer’s visit!