Yesterday evening we had friends over for dinner. We moved our dining table into the living room so that we could extend it to accommodate platters and place settings, then set the table for “real” for the first time in this apartment. I set the table every morning for breakfast, but we very rarely sit at the table with napkins, water glasses, wine glasses, and so on for dinner.

After seeing the table set, I missed our apartment in New York City for about five minutes, because we had enough space there to keep the table at full size all the time. Then I remembered all the things I love about our apartment here, like how we have enough room to fit the table in the kitchen, and I felt better.

All day long, Mr. tended to our roast pork, basting every hour until it was gloriously crisp and charred on the outside.

I neglected to take any pictures of the meat after we cut into it. It was so tempting that we devoured it without a shred of regard for photographic evidence. The pork was sweet and tender and I ate far more of it than I intended.

This roast started off as a beautiful six-and-a-half-pound pork shoulder from Savenor’s Market. Although there were only four diners, by the end of the  evening the leftovers were relatively modest. Right now I am feeling really appreciative toward the gentleman who butchered the pork, because he was more than willing to cut it down from nine pounds. A roast that size would have never finished cooking, which would have lead to a dinner party disaster. At just two-thirds of the size, this one took about six hours in the oven.

Mr. and I will be having Asian Taco Night at some point this week, but at least it won’t be like the-time-we-made-bo-ssam-to-practice-and-had-five-pounds-of-leftovers-to-eat all-week. Which was immediately followed by the-time-we-also-made-bo-ssam-for-book-club-and-were-actually-already-sick-of-sweet-salty-roast-pork.

Our guests brought cheese. It was the gooey kind you eat with a spoon, and it was fantastic. We were really sad we hadn’t baked a loaf of bread, because  this cheese would have been amazing with some of Mr.’s wonderful homemade bread. There is no need to feel sad for us though, because it was also wonderful on a spoon.

After dinner, everyone ate homemade ice cream. We churn ice cream using a Kitchenaid mixer attachment, which is pretty awesome. We make the ice cream on the living room floor when we’re roasting meat in the kitchen, because the heat from the oven can ruin the ice cream’s texture. The recipe is in this book and it is the only book of ice cream recipes you really need. (Although, there is one major omission in that book – an excellent recipe for pistachio ice cream – but David Lebovitz has his reasons. You can find his instructions for pistachio ice cream here, and we’ve made it, so I know it’s also really good.) Here’s our non-pistachio bright green ice cream spinning in the mixer:

It’s neon green because it’s green tea ice cream, which is in my top three flavors for ice cream. (The other two are salted caramel and pistachio, if you happen to owe me a favor.) Also, I may have chosen an instagram filter that made it look even greener, because I thought it looked cool, like slime from a certain Nickelodeon show of my youth. It takes just three four teaspoons of matcha powder to make the ice cream that green and give it extraordinary green tea flavor. Even better, we now have enough matcha powder to make green tea shortbread cookies this week.

Everyone ate at least two little cups of ice cream. Some of us ate three. There’s still some in the freezer. I’ll need to invite some friends over to eat it soon or else I will eat it all by myself.

This was a very indulgent meal, but it was so full of love that it was clearly worth it. Since we’re so far away from family, it means a lot to us to do the things we love (cook and eat and talk and laugh and drink wine) with people who love them as much as we do. It makes me feel at home here.