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Last week, for the first time in more than a year, we had friends over for dinner after the kids went to bed. Pinta’s poor sleeping has kept us from entertaining all these past months.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Once, at the start of her period of nocturnal howling, we had another couple over. When it came to sleep training, we thought we knew what we were doing. I’d read Weissbluth’s and Ferber’s books. They’re sort of the John Lennon and Paul McCartney of sleep training. Though they don’t work together, they are the leading voices on the subject. Alas, Pinta never made sweet music until we discovered Soho Parenting, a center in downtown New York with wonderful counselors.

Back before the blissful peace brought on by the Soho Parenting center, we tried to teach Pinta to sleep on our own. The process involved a lot of tears, and they were not just hers. We were cavalier when we started. She cried, we entertained. Our apartment is about a thousand square feet. Sound travels well through it. The other couple was sweet. They were friends of a friend. They brought us a meal. We didn’t even have to cook. I can’t remember what we ate, but I can remember Pinta crying through it.

Fortunately, those days seem to be over. The only sounds to be heard the night of our recent friends visit were that of music playing, us talking, and glasses clinking (they’re getting married shortly).

After all that time off from entertaining, it was a bit time consuming to get the house ready (I had to wash the Champagne flutes, which had gotten dusty from lack of use), but the menu I prepared didn’t take any time at all. Its centerpiece was a Greek salad with tuna, which I adapted from a recipe in one of my favorite books, “Gourmet Everyday.” I more or less doubled it, playing fast and loose with the proportions, and was rewarded with a new week-night staple, at least during the summer. This is the quickest and most delicious dish I’ve come across in a long time.

Greek Salad with Tuna

  • 1 or 2 English Cucumbers
  • 1 or 2 cans Tuna packed in oil
  • 1 or 2 fistfuls Kalamata olives
  • 4 to 6 ounces Feta
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Wash the cucumbers. Slice them lengthwise once, and then into quarter-inch half moons.
Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise.
Do the same for the olives.
Dice the feta into quarter-inch cubes.
Add the cheese to the vegetables.
Toss the tuna with its oil over the  vegetables, being careful not to break up the tuna too much.
Add the olives.

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