Good friends, dinner tonight, crostini Thursday

We've been in D.C. since 2005, and it's really starting to feel like home. The friends we've made, especially those in the past year, are beginning to feel like old friends, ones with whom you can be completely yourself, warts and all. Getting together is easy, fun, you pick up where you left off, you laugh, commiserate, support and learn. Just this week we've had two wonderful evenings: parents and kids on Sunday, just the adults last night. There was good food, drink and conversation, hilarity, serious reflection and interesting exchange, and after each occasion, I felt so happy and lucky. When I grew up, our whole neighborhood knew each other. You looked out for one another, dropped by for sugar, eggs, a hug, whatever. You watched one another's pets, took in papers and mail, enjoyed each other's company in the easy, casual way you can only when you start to really know and like each other. I still love seeing all those people when I return home, and I'm starting to feel like we're establishing a similar sort of community here. What a gift!

Last night, my beautiful friend, G, made two delicious tarts. Puff pastry served as the base for each: one was topped with cream cheese, roasted eggplant, harissa and a cheese mix of fontina and something else; the other was studded with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, capers and parmesan. They were SO good- unfussy, flavorful, thrown together in the best sort of way. I am definitely going to try this in the near future. The harissa and eggplant combo was fab. Unfortunately, my picture of these treats did not turn out at all.

Tonight, I'm going to grill those okra, as well as some mangos and a protein TBD- I'm rifling around for inspiration right now. And tomorrow will be our second Crostini Thursday, one dish for which will be a Grilled Bread with Thyme Pesto and Preserved Lemon Cream recipe that I've just come across on food52. Mamma mia!

In 48 hours we will be on the plane to Portland peeps!