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Whether you plan on celebrating at home, at a park, beach or just about anywhere, here are a few additions to give your celebration a worldly and sporty flair.
And for those who find even these activities too much – have them man the tunes on the portable record player.
When B and I started dating, one of the first meals I made was a dinner of cowboy steaks and grilled potato and watercress salad (I think they were on the same page in a magazine). I haven’t made either much since then, but I loved them both, and I think my dad still makes them often (no, he wasn’t there, but I told him what a hit they were).
Fast forward many years later to earlier this week, I was making dinner with some friends. We were planning on veggie burgers (these to be exact) and wanted a salad too. We were originally thinking tomato and corn, but as the heirlooms weren’t looking quite ready and the temperature dropped about 20ºF as I headed into the store, I automatically wanted something a bit heartier, more comforty.
I remembered that “potato salad” and thought that would be the perfect direction.
We quickly roasted up a few yukon gold, fingerling and red potatoes (just a hodge-podge of what looked good) until they were crispy on the outside. Combined that with lettuce (spinach from the store and mixed greens from M’s CSA) and some gorgeous cherry tomatoes and we had a slight-step-up-from simple dinner salad.
And for the dressing, it was a buttermilk gorgonzola vinaigrette. If that even makes sense. I started with my basic vinaigrette – garlic (or shallot) minced and tossed with a bit of red wine vinegar, but nixed the dijon for a bit of buttermilk (thinking the tang would be a nice counterpart to the forthcoming cheese) and slowly whisked in a drizzle olive oil, and seasoned simply with salt and pepper. Finished it with some gorgonzola (or blue cheese of your choice) and chives. I love the creaminess of this dressing – not thick, but just a bit more luscious than what I usually mix up.
The herby lettuces, warm crispy potatoes, candy-like cherry tomatoes and almost decadent dressing were the perfect match for a cool summer evening some (seven) years after the first rendition. Something tells me it will continue being made ’round here for many years to come.
With summer now (officially) in full swing, we can look forward to a few months of food prepared primarily two ways: grilled or not cooked at all. At least that is how I would like things to be. But alas, there is no grill (or outdoor space) here at Casa Dentino and so we have have to improvise. A grill pan works great for many things but for one of summer’s true pleasures, I turn to the oven.
I love corn and can’t get enough of it in the summer. Grilled and slathered Cafe Habana style is my favorite, and I throw back all sorts of corn salads, but sometimes simple and unadorned is all you want or need.
Growing up, I remember that corn on the cob was often done on the stove, in a huge pot of boiling water, with a pinch of sugar or splash of milk. But now, I don’t dream of boiling corn (or many other veggies for that matter) and if I don’t have a grill handy, I simply roast the corn in their husks in the oven.
Say 30 minutes at 350ºF or until the kernels are just soft. I maybe underdo it just a touch – I like the sweet startchiness of fresh summer corn. And a pat of butter if you must, but I go for a squeeze of lime. Then pull back the husks like a handle (notice that the silks peel off much easier on cooked corn) and devour!
Besides pies, this may be the only thing worth turning your oven on for all season long.
And I have tried lots of crust recipes. From chefs and cookbooks and bloggers that I trust. Really trust (although I am not saying who, for it is too embarrassing). And I really don’t know where things are going wrong. I’ve tried all kinds of options – hand kneading and mixer; baking sheet, pizza stone, bake, bake and broil; hand forming, tossing, rolling, pulling … and the outcome is always (about) the same.
They have just all been a bit doughy. And not in a good way. Dry too. And almost dense. Doughy, dry and dense. No thanks.
But after the last bust, I was determined to make something good with a basic dough. And when I remembered that I had recently seen perfectly golden herbed flatbreads on the (beautiful new) Sunday Suppers website, I figured that was a good place to start.
Master the bubbly crispy cracker like base I was longing for, and then learn and adapt from there.
Thankfully we had success.
And even better, they took the time to master the recipe (which was more of a commitment than I could handle in those last few cocktail-swilling weeks in Manhattan).
So head over there to check out the recipe, oogle the pics and vote for the Drink of the Summer.
My money’s on the Moon Safari, but they all look pretty damn good … and may make appearances here all summer. (You may notice another strawberry/black pepper drink – I think a trend may be upon us).
Thanks Tim and Bryan for putting this together – what a great way to kick of the sunny season!
Image via Lottie + Doof
I think ricotta may be the new burrata. It is popping up on menus everywhere as a stunning first course – like the sheep’s milk version at Locande Verde or the slightly spiced version that kicked off our recent experience at The Hunger. I have really been enjoying its simplicity – just dressed with some herbs, lemon and oil and piled high on crostini – so much that I have been meaning to try and make it at home.
And thankfully, a quick internet search showed that it is deceptively simple to make. Granted, not traditional ricotta, which is made from the whey that remains in the cheese-making process, but a version made from milk.
Thoughts of homemade ricotta got even better, when it was decided that Sunday night was going to include a little pizza party with friends. Toppings from the Farmer’s Market, fresh cheese, lots of laughs and a bit of vino – sign me up.
For the ricotta, we used the recipe from 101 Cookbooks, but I think it is fairly standard, as I have seen it other places as well.
Since I am sure that the picture on the Memorial Day Weekend post has just been haunting you – wondering when the recipe would be up. Refreshing your browser 100 times, thinking it would pop up. Oh, didn’t do that. Well I can pretend, because that is the recipe you are finally getting.
Cross-country (or across the street) moves don’t generally inspire a ton of cooking, so I’ve been out of the kitchen a bit. Well actually that is not true – there was a taco night and smorgasbord of sandwiches on a sailboat – but those where part of a bachelorette party and the camera must’ve been hidden behind the wine bottle(s).
But at least we still have the clambake.
Before we moved, our friends wanted to have us over for dinner – which sounded great to me. An evening in a fun Soho apartment with an amazing wine collection and a chance to make dinner with great friends. While the boys chatted and kept the wine flowing, we ladies made dinner. Which was so easy it should be criminal, especially considering all the ‘WOWs’ it received.
Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend! Ours included visitors, food, friends, parks, drinks, museums, restaurants, hellos, goodbyes, vino and a killer kitchen clambake.
More on the clambake soon, but until then … I’ve gotta run to the post office to get a shipment out while it’s still open.
Thanks for being understanding about the move and if I lag a bit this week. Just be thankful its not you!