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A Summer Gathering with bonus recipe

Summer is the perfect time to get together with friends and family. Food plays a major part in this ritual. I love to cook for people; it is my way of showing that I care. I enjoy making them an assortment of yummy dishes. Not too long ago, I decided to have an early summer gathering. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, so we could not host it outdoors. My plans, however, were flexible. I decided to bring summer inside and share the warmth of good food despite the rainy day.

One of the food concepts that I love comes from the Spanish - tapas, or small plates. It's basically appetizers or very small dishes that you can put together to make a complete meal. It provides a lot of food variety as well as allows you to control your portion size. It's a gathering of different kinds of food. I've included pictures to show examples of this concept, and how I decided to arrange things. I hope to inspire you to create your own gathering of food, friends, and family! If you do, please share with me how it went. I would love to hear about what you did differently and how you created your own summer gathering.

Bonus Recipe: An Olive Marinade

This is one of my favorite appetizers to prepare. It is full of flavor with a slight kick. It's delicious! I like to make it in the morning, and let the olives marinate all day. Treat your guests with these flavorful olives as an appetizer, or you can add them to a green salad. Either option is great - you cannot go wrong!

Bon Appetit!

Preparation time is 10 minutes. Chill time is 2 hours. Stand time is 30 minutes.


  • 1 (6 ounce) can of black ripe pitted olives, drained

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine all the ingredients (olives, olive oil, basil, garlic, vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt) in a zipper storage bag. Close the bag, and then shake to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Let sit 30 minutes or until at room temperature. Serve the olive marinade (either with toothpicks or over lettuce leaves with sliced tomato).

(edited by Anna Weicht)

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