We love to entertain and prepare nice meals for friends. It’s something we’ve always enjoyed and it feels like it’s been a really long time since we’ve had the opportunity to do it. Between preparing our home in Los Altos for selling and preparing our lives for relocating to an entirely new country, we had not had the opportunity to entertain for awhile before we moved. We’ve been living here in Boquete for about four months and although we’ve been invited to other peoples houses for great get togethers we have yet to have had a place and an opportunity to have people over to our home. Until last night…
Last week, Scott, after sitting on his butt for weeks in order to allow himself to heal from hernia surgery, was going stir-crazy. He said,”we should invite some people over for dinner.” I gotta admit, I was feeling a little apprehensive because it’s been such a long time since we’ve hosted a dinner party and I felt a little nervous about who we should invite, will anyone ‘want’ to come over for dinner? What will we make? Do we even have serving dishes in this ‘furnished’ rental house? Oh, so many silly , insecure thoughts crept into my head, I don’t know why! In our former life in California, entertaining was kind of a hobby for us as a couple. We’ve always found great pleasure in sharing our home with friends and preparing special meals that we hoped made our friends feel special. Scott would spend lot’s of time coming up with just the right menu and then the hunt for the recipes and ingredients would begin. As Scott was searching for the perfect menu I always found great pleasure in getting our house ready for guests. I just love to set the table and make it look festive, many times ordering a beautiful arrangement from my good friend Brian Davino who’s an amazing floral designer in town. As the evening of our dinner party would arrive Scott and I would go through the menu together and we would determine what serving dishes we would need to use and get them all out. On the day of the dinner we often spent the better part of the day in preparation for our evening. Scott would be cooking away, music blasting, while I cleaned the house and set the table and continually stopped off in the kitchen to clean up after him as he cooked. I gotta say, my man can cook, but boy oh boy does he make a mess!!! :0 To some, this may sound like work, but to us, it’s fun and rewarding.
In our 13 years together we’ve hosted many such fun, dinner parties and I’m so pleased that our first one here in Boquete went off without a hitch. I’m not sure what kind of ‘hitch’ I was expecting , I think I just felt a little out of practice and our new friends here are so ‘new’ I was just hoping they would enjoy spending time with us. I know, that sounds kinda dorky, huh? It’s also a little strange entertaining in a house that isn’t ours, and with ‘things’ that aren’t ours. But in the end, we managed to pull it off and enjoy the evening. Although, Scott may have gone a little overboard with his menu! Not that this is anything new…. he really likes to feed people and I think our friends left feeling as though they had been thoroughly fed! He prepared Tapas for our friends here’s the menu : Mexican Layered dip as an appetizer, Chicken Empanadas , (filled with roasted chicken, Chili verde sauce and cheese), Crab cakes, roasted potatoes, braised pork in a sauce made with five different peppers served with a local cheese filled tortilla thingy, Mango chicken Sopa’s (Scott’s version of Sopa, not a soup, closer to a taco), Yucatan fish wrapped in Banana leaves,(he just wanted to go chop down banana leaves from our yard!) Also several sauces to be used in whatever combo you choose: Chipotle aioli , Tzatziki sauce, Al’s mango salsa, and guacamole. We also prepared a black bean concoction which We discovered in the morning, we forgot to serve!! LOL! For desert, we had an apple berry crumble with vanilla ice cream. Ahhhh, I feel full again just reading this menu!
As you can tell, we had a fun-filled day cooking together just like always. My apprehension began to dissipate as the day wore on and as I walked around the yard cutting flowers to make arrangements (missing Brian Davino, and Merlyn but attempting to channel their flower arranging talent! ), I found myself feeling more and more like my normal self again, looking forward to spending the evening with nice people and sharing our new home. There’s been so many unfamiliar and different things about this new life we’ve begun here in Panama, it felt so good to do something familiar with new friends. It didn’t matter at all that we didn’t have our fancy kitchen and all the high end pots and pans and gadgets like before (eye roll here), and even though we had to hunt for some ingredients and settle for a few substitutes everything ended up working out just fine. We so enjoyed the adventure together, doing something that , to us, brings us great satisfaction. The part I especially enjoyed about our Boquete dinner party was eating outside with the thunder and lightening lighting up the sky! I have a suspicion this wont be our last Boquete dinner party! We’ll be doing this again, I’m sure.