Green Bean Salad, A New Cheese, Steak and Pie

I harvested 2 green beans this week. Yes I was hoping for more. I have not made a green bean salad all year. I wanted to wait until the crop was ready. Today I was at Bishop's and they had fresh picked green beans. I bought some and added our 2 green beans to the mix. I used the recipe my mom use to make. Steam the beans and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley and oregano. I added a tomato, from our plant, and some olives.

I almost forgot about our appetizer. While I was shopping at Bishop's I was looking at the cheese selection. I saw a container of Burrata, Fresh Mozzarella Filled With Cultured Cream. Oh my God where has this stuff been all my life! I spread some on Italian bread and topped it with cherry tomato halves. This has to be healthy to eat... please....

Now about the steak. Porterhouse steaks were on sale and looked really nice. 
Chris seasoned them with salt and pepper before putting then on the grill.
We had some Black Pepper Butter that we put on top of the steak, nice touch. 
And yes there is leftover steak!

The wine, Ruffino Chianti Superiore 2011. 

 And even dessert!
From Food52  Rose Levy Beranbaum's Fresh Blueberry Pie. I had the pie crust in the freezer. It was a small portion of crust so I made a small pie, enough for 2 people. It was quite good. Was not sure if I had done the math correctly for reducing the ingredients but I got it right!


And did you ever turn around and see something like this staring at you?
 Happy Caturday!








One More Hug...

Today is the closing on my parent's house. Wow. It is over and it is time to move on. The new owners are family friends. They are a lovely family and I hope they find as much happiness as we experienced in the house.

The house is full of good Karma. I just wish I could give it one more hug. Not being able to to that I made this slide show. These are photos of what the rooms looked like the last time I was in the house and photos of how I will remember the rooms. Filled with love.

 
Dinner tonight... not sure, but I know there will be a Vodka Gimlet at the end of all this.


A special "Thank You" to the Smithereens for writing a great song!

Beef and Barley Stuffed Peppers

Delicious and pretty darn easy. I had the pre-cooked barley in the freezer. I sauteed chopped onion in a little olive oil and than added the ground beef. Seasoned the pan with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and oregano. Some fresh chopped parsley on top. Mixed in some Parmesan cheese and filled two hollowed out red peppers. Placed the peppers in a baking pan and put a little water in the bottom. Topped with some Marinara sauce and covered the dish with foil and into the oven for about 35 minutes. Yum!

The Last Saturday At My Parent's House

You will find what we had for dinner is at the end of this post. Today was an important day for me. And it had nothing to do with food. It was the last Saturday I had to go to my parent's house.

Back in 1996 my Dad asked if I could come to the house on Saturdays. He was having trouble getting my mom to go anywhere. He thought I might be able to take her shopping, or at least get her out for awhile. It was not until 3 years later that we found out she was at the beginning stage of Alzheimer's. I went to the house every Saturday. After a while it got to a point where going every Saturday was too much, so my sister, and then my brother took turns. It gave my Dad a much needed break from being the sole caregiver and it gave us valuable time with my mom.

My mom passed in 2006 and we could not leave my Dad alone on Saturdays. We had all gotten used to spending the day together. My sister and I would alternate Saturdays and my brother would visit on Sundays. It was a good arrangement.

After my Dad passed in December, my brother, sister and I spend just about every Saturday at the house. There was so much stuff to sort through. It seemed like it would never end.  The three of us still have boxes to go through.

Well today was the last Saturday that I had to go to the house. The closing is this week and that will be that.

I met my sister at the house and then we went to the cemetery. The Army had sent an emblem to go on the mausoleum and we had to pay to have the emblem put up and to have the date of death engraved.


While we were at the house we found the first fig! Actually there were two. They were the most delicious figs I have every had.
 
Sorry to share all this but this blog was started because I missed my mom. And now I miss my Dad and I will miss the Saturdays in West Haven. But I now I will spend my Saturdays baking and cooking and recipe hunting... And occasionally shopping with my sister!

Now about dinner... Grilled Pork Chops, Grilled Fingerling Potatoes and Shaved Squash Salad with Sunflower Seeds.


The Shaved Squash Salad with Sunflower Seeds was from Bon Appetit.

Ingredients -
2 large summer squash
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
2 Tbsp. salted, roasted sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Method -
Shave squash lengthwise with a vegetable peeler and toss with lemon juice and oil; season with salt and pepper. Top with feta, basil, and sunflower seeds.

 I picked some flowers from my Dad's garden... Happy Saturday!




Rigatoni Con Sugo Di Peperoni

And we close this week's dinners with another recipe from The Italian Farmer's Table: Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Northern Italy. Wow winner of the week! I roasted the peppers, from Jake's Farm Stand, over the weekend. We used them on Sausage Patties and they were in the Eggplant & Roasted Pepper Terrine. Just fantastic. And yes I will post this recipe.

Rigatoni with Roasted Pepper Sauce, Rigatoni Con Sugo Di Peperoni, a variation The Italian Farmer's Table: Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Northern Italy.

Ingredients -
2 yellow bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 pound Rigatoni
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Method -
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Brush peppers with olive oil and roast in oven until tender, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time. 
 
Place immediately in a plastic bag and let rest 20 minutes. Peel peppers, remove seeds, and cut into thin slices.

In a saute pan heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add the peppers and cook for 5 minutes to combine flavors. 

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, until al dente, then drain in a colander.


Meanwhile, puree the peppers in a food processor or blender and return to the saute pan. Add the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and heat the sauce through. Toss the pasta with the sauce and sprinkle with oregano and Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve immediately.








 

Chicken and Bread Panzanella and Eggplant Tart

 

 Where to start...
The Chicken and Bread Panzanella. The recipe from RealSimple.com called for Olive Bread. Don't you know this was the one week the store did not have Olive Bread. Not a problem, I just used Italian Bread and I added Olives to the salad. The dressing was nice, olive oil and cider vinegar. I used some of the salad from last night in addition to the Arugula. A really good week night meal.
The Eggplant Tart is a combination of a couple of recipe from The Italian Farmer's Table: Authentic Recipes and Local Lore from Northern Italy. I have given this book twice as gifts and realized I should own a copy too. I downloaded the Kindle version. There are lots of recipes to try. This week we will be having 2 or 3 from the book. 

The Eggplant Tart came about as a way to use up the filling from the Eggplant Turnovers and the crust extra from the Swiss Chard and Ricotta Tart, check back tomorrow for more on that. The crust was a Savory Pie Crust, Pasta Frolla Salata. What a great recipe. The crust was perfect to work with, just not as flaky as my usual Pate Brisee.

As I said I ended up making the tart because I made the Eggplant Turnovers on Saturday night and had way too much filling leftover. I added some cherry tomato halves to the filling and baked it for about 35 minutes at 375. (And I noticed someone going back for seconds!)

I also just notice there is a Southern Italy version of this book... Stay tuned!

Pomodori Al Riso

Pomodori Al Riso, Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice, from Rachel Eats is a fantastic summer dinner. I purchased the tomatoes at Jake's Farm Stand. They were perfectly ripe. I love the idea of soaking the rice with the tomato meat and juices for 45 minutes. And of course roasted potatoes were my favorite.

I also made a big salad, actually the salad will be my lunch for a few days too!

Hope everyone had a lovely Sunday!

Rubbed the Wrong Way

Last week I was in Fort Lauderdale with my sister visiting my niece and her husband. We had a fantastic time. On Saturday we went shopping and we were in a Williams Sonoma store and I saw a variety pack of rubs. We have just this year starting using rubs on our grilled meats. I thought what a perfect idea for Chris. Sold.
Well tonight I took out two Steakhouse Cut Sirloin Steaks and applied the Smoke House Rub. Oh what an awful thing to do to two beautiful steaks. The first ingredient in the rub is Applewood-Smoked Sea Salt. Oh it was way too salty. And the meat was cooked so perfectly. So this was a live and learn lesson. If we use a rub we will be making our own.
Dinner was not a complete loss. We had Jake's corn, always delicious. I also made an Arugula Salad and some Eggplant Turnovers.

Oh and the wine was quite good...
But enough about food. Today I took Lucy to the vet for her yearly wellness visit. I walked in the office and saw a photo of Lucy and she was named Pet of the Day! So she got a free mani & pedi, saving me $25.00!




Roasted Sausage and Pepper Subs and the Feast of Saint Lorenzo

 
This is what I was planning on having for dinner last night. On my way home from the airport I stopped off to pick up some groceries. I thought seeing as I was gone all weekend I would make Chris a nice dinner. I was going to make meatloaf and I would roast some sausage and peppers for another dinner this week. As I was leaving the store I walked past the deli counter and was hit by the aroma of fried chicken. It would be so easy. All I would have to do is heat it up. I could make mashed potatoes and a vegetable. Easy vs meatloaf...
Well the chicken won out. I put the meat in the freezer for another day. Dinner was a hit. But I did make Zucchini and Parmesan Balls. They were super fast to put together.

Even though I took the easy way out last night I did roast the sausage, peppers and onions. When Chris got home tonight he added some Marinara sauce and heated the pan up in the oven. Sub rolls and a little cheese on top was all we needed.

This should have been posted on Saturday, but was a little busy...
Saturday was the Feast of St Lorenzo. He is the patron saint of cooks and chefs. According to legend St Lorenzo, the church of Rome’s librarian and archivist, was thought to have a list of all the members of the early church and hidden treasures.  On August 8, in year 258, two days after the Emperor Valerian executed the Pope and deacons, he ordered Lorenzo to produce all the Vatican’s wealth.  On August 10, Lorenzo arrived to the palace and presented the poor, the crippled, the blind and the suffering, and said these were the true treasures of the Church. And then he was executed. Lorenzo was executed by slowly being roasted on the grill.  Instead of revealing the Church’s wealth, Lorenzo, while burning on the grill, gathered the strength to tell his executioners “Turn me over.  I am done on this side.”

Italy vs Australia

No this is not a blog post about soccer. This weekend, actually yesterday, I spend the afternoon helping bake Italian Wedding Cookies and 2 Australian dishes, the Australian Meat Pie and Sausage Rolls.

My sister, Lenore, and I flew down to Florida to visit my niece and her husband. After a 5 and a half hour flight delay (went to see the new Woody Allen movie, Blue Jasmine, during our wait) we were off to Florida. Saturday was the traditional shopping event and Sunday we were in the kitchen.

My niece had been having some issues with her Italian Wedding Cookie recipe. We think the problem was not beating the eggs long enough. The cookies we made yesterday came out light and had a lovely scent of orange to them. Perfect! Unlike this blurry photo!

Her husband, Bruce was celebrating his birthday on Monday so she wanted to make a couple of his favorite Australian dishes. He is Australian! The Australian Meat Pie and Sausage Rolls. Being a veteran Italian Meat Pie maker all I can say is, "Holy Cow!" What a recipe. The crust is made with the meat drippings in place of shortening. The consistency of the dough was beautiful. The filling she used was onion, carrot, mushroom and lamb. She said you can put any meat in that you want.  It is time consuming as you have to let the drippings cool, but the result looked fantastic.

The Sausage Rolls were sauteed Sausage rolled in a Puff Pastry. The meat was seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano. Nice!

Now after a day of baking you would not expect us to cook dinner too! We ate at Serafina's. We started with Tonno Tartar and Carpaccio Di Manzo, two dishes I have never had. Loved both of them. The Yellow Fin Tuna was just amazing. We also had a Stuffed Portabello Mushroom which was a special appetizer.
For dinner I had the Tagliatelle al Porcini, my sister had the Tutto Mare Rissoti. Mary Lucia had Veal Saltimbocca and Bruce had the Angello Aromatico, the Grilled Rack of Lamb. My dinner was so good but such a large portion! It was definitely a memorable meal.


After a day of shopping...

Today my sister, my niece and I spend the day shopping. A very productive day! And a very long day. When we returned to my niece's home we were greeted by a lovely antipasto put together by her husband. A perfect way to end a perfect day. Thanks Bruce!

Shopping

Taking a weekend trip with my sister, Lenore, to visit her daughter, Mary Lucia, who lives in Florida. Why go to Florida in August... To shop of course! We will also be doing some baking!

Not sure if I will be posting this weekend so if I do not please enjoy this music video while I am away from the keyboard...

Lemony Ricotta Summer Squash Galette & Archie's Birthday!


Another recipe from this month's Better Homes and Garden. Tonight we tried Lemony Ricotta Summer Squash Galette. The recipe calls for store bought pie crust. Yeah not likely in this house... For the crust I made the Pate Brisee and added some thyme and black pepper. Layers of thinly sliced zucchini on a layer of lemony ricotta. Yeah I like this recipe!

And with the Galette we had the perfectly constructed Big Salad.



And who is 14 years old today? Archie!







Orecchiette with Bacon Meatballs

 
Yeah you read that right, Bacon Meatballs. The way to a man's heart is to make Bacon Meatballs. Such a simple thing. No really they were simple to make.  Pork, bacon and pepper. But after dinner Chris said the bacon was not necessary. He said the dish would have been just as good with regular meatballs. The only thing the bacon added was salt. Glad he said that because I was thinking the same thing as I was making the meatballs.
I used whole wheat Orecchiette. But I think fettuccine noodles would have been better. Do you want to try making this? If so click here!
I did a little baking yesterday. I have been wanting to make a fruit tart. Peaches, Plum, Nectarine and Blueberry. I added a little cream cheese and some orange marmalade... Nice!
 
And I had the Anginetti Cookies in the freezer. I defrosted them and added the icing. Light as air!