Much Needed Girls Night Out

A couple of months ago, an invitation came by mail, inviting me to a “Girl;s Night Out” party”.  It wasn’t in my usual haunt of Larchmont,  but in neighboring Pelham.  I had such a blast.  Meeting new women with new stories, all in the comfort of someone’s’ home.  It was like a a big girl play date, inclusive of snacks (dinner) and juice (well…it does come from a fruit).  That night reminded me of some wisdom my original life  mentor, Suzanne Rochon Burnett, shared with me.  She taught me a lot of things for which I have been blessed and am eternally grateful, but this quote has always stayed with me.   “Surround yourself with different kinds of people you like and spend time with them”.  She also said she collected people like she collected art.  Carefully and with passion.

So I decided it was my turn to bring together diverse, interesting women I like.   That was the only criteria for making the guest list.  Now  I have entertained alot over the years and people are always welcome in my home.  Most of these women have been entertained in my home, with and without spouses,  but bringing them all  together was like a dose of great medicine!  We all have such busy lives, at times complicated by life events that leave us with very little time  to “just be”.  Making time to have fun, share a story, get group comfort and hugs for a time in need or just hanging out with old and new friends, is just not done enough.  One of my friends, who as here last night said “there is no happiness only happy moments”.   Last night was a happy moment.  New friends, new stories, support and trusted camaraderie.

I was asked to share my menu and recipes.  Here you go.

Grilled Tamarind Chicken

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 12.5 oz bottle of tamarind soda (or lemon, orange or ginger soda)

½ cup soy sauce

3 medium cloves of garlic1 Tbs ground coriander

2 tsp Chile powder

Sea salt

You are suppose to marinade overnight in the liquids then make a rub with the seasoning and cover the chicken before BBQ but…I just throw it all together, marinade overnight and then grill.  Make sure you oil the grill before BBQ as there is little fat in the chicken.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

3 Tbs olive oil plus ¼ cup

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pd box Israeli couscous

3 cups chicken stock

2 lemons, juiced

1 lemon zest

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 cup chopped basil

¼ cup chopped mint leaves

¼ cup chopped dried fruit (apricots or cranberries)

 ¼ cup almonds toasted

1 can drained and rinsed chick peas

Warm the 3 Tbs oil over medium heat, add the garlic, cook for 1 minute.  Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned (5 minutes) Add the stock, juice of 1 lemon and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until tender.  Drain the couscous, add remaining oil, remaining lemon juice and zest, dried fruit and almonds.  Toss and enjoy.  Serves 6

Tex-Mex Grilled Shrimp

48 extra large shrimp peeled and deveined

3 Tbs olive oil

Sea salt and ground pepper

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup pineapple juice

1 med clove garlic, minced

1 medium lime

Make the marinade add shrimp and refrigerate overnight of for 4 hours. Grill shrimp.

Tomato, Corn, Basil Salad

6 large tomatoes cut into bite size pieces

1 can corn niblets

½ cup sliced red onions

1 cup basil

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar

Toss and serve


  1. Carole Woods says:

    Wow! These recipes look great, Francine. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jeannette Landa says:

    Always enjoy reading your updates and “spending time with lyou” and thanks for the recipes….can use a little inspiration on these hot sumer days…Hugs Jeannette

  3. Jamie Mooney says:

    The grilled chicken recipe calls for Tamarind Soda – Stop and Shop in the NewRoc complex carries this! Wonderful recipes, Francine.

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