Just A Perfect Day!

I am not a fan of the Facebook feature, Today's Memory, or whatever it is called. But this morning I woke up I checked my email and Facebook before getting out of bed and the memory Facebook was sharing was our first Smithereens concert. It was a video of the song Only A Memory. At that moment I knew today was going to be great day.

I was firming up this weeks menu. Archie has to put his two cents in. Yes, we will have chicken.
Off to Bishops for veggies. Heading to Stop and Shop for the rest of the list and I noticed a Grand Opening sign. Ferraro's Market was open!! I was not sure of what the store would be like. I heard that you had to order online and then you picked up your order at this location. Well, they sell every cut of meat there. I was so freakin' happy it was as if I walked into Macy's and they were having a 75% off sale on Birkenstocks. I picked up a Delmonico Steak Boneless Rib Eye Family Pack for $14.00. That was 3 steaks, I was thinking ahead to Sunday morning breakfast. Steak and Eggs anyone?
The steak was the best steak I have ever had. It was like butter. Melted in your mouth.

For a side dish I made a Shaved Zucchini Salad from Bon Appetit. I used Patty Pan Squash and Zucchini. I used Feta in place of the Parmesan.

And this afternoon I made a jam with blueberries, blackberries, vanilla and sugar. That's it. Just those 4 ingredients. More on that in tomorrows post.

Well, if you make jam you have to make English Muffins too. Right? 



This was a perfect Saturday that started with the Smithereens and ended with Marky Ramone's blitzkrieg & Andre W.K. Live in Rome!! This is what I bake to on a Saturday night. Rock on!










Rice Salad with Cucumber, Tomatoes, and Feta

Tonight we made another recipe from the Stop and Shop magazine, Savory. Rice Salad with Cucumber, Tomatoes, and Feta. Another hot day here in Madison. I even microwaved the rice so I would not have to turn on the stove. The recipe called for sun-dried tomatoes. I don't really like sun-dried tomatoes so I omitted them. The recipe did not call for any type of dressing. I added olive oil and lemon juice. Perfect. And instead of using watercress I used Swiss Chard from the plant on the deck.

This is my version of the Savory recipe -

Ingredients-
1 1/2 cups white rice
2 cups mixed cherry tomatoes
1/2 cucumber
1 cup parsley
8 oz. feta cheese
2.25 oz black olive sliced
3 scallions, sliced
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper

Method-
Cook the rice according to the direction on the box.
While the rice is cooking halve the tomatoes and set aside. Halve the cucumber lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Chop the parsley.

Cut the feta into 1/2 inch cubes. Allow the rice to cool. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, feta and scallions. Add Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the Swiss Chard on large plate. Carefully spoon the rice salad over the chard and serve immediately.

And our first tomato is finally not green anymore!               

Steak Kabobs and Panna Cotta

Not sure where to begin. Okay, I won't start with the dessert. For dinner, we "cooked the cover." This week at Stop and Shop they gave out copies of their magazine, Savory. The first recipe was Steak Kabobs with Tomato Salad and Grilled Bread. I had everything in the house except the steak. I even had Foccacia in the freezer!

This is my version of the Savory recipe -

Ingredients-

¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 tsp crushed red pepper
8 oz sirloin steak
1 focaccia round
½ red onion
4 skewers
1-pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

Method-
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Place in a bowl the lemon juice, oil, red pepper, salt (in moderation) and pepper to taste. Whisk until combined. Cut the steak into 1-inch cubes.

Place the steak in a resealable plastic bag with half the marinade and allow to sit for at least 20 min. at room temperature. For added flavor, chill marinade for up to 12 hours. Brush the bread on both sides with a little of the marinade. Cut the red onion into 1-inch squares.

Carefully skewer the steak cubes, and red onions onto the skewers. Place the skewers on the barbecue and grill for about 8–10 min., turning so each side browns. Remove skewers from grill and leave to rest for 5 min., loosely covered with foil.

While kebabs are resting, grill the bread for about 2 min. or until golden and crisp, turning once. Slice the tomatoes, then toss with the parsley and remaining marinade. Serve kabobs with grilled bread and tomato salad.

I have to say the best part of this recipe was the Focaccia. Who's surprised I said that?

Now about dessert. I don't make a lot of desserts for us. Yes, I make cookies for every occasion but Chris and I are not big dessert people. But I saw this recipe for Panna Cotta on the David Lebovitz Facebook page and I had to make it. The past few days the weather has been rather warm here. So the fact that the oven was not used was a big selling point. This was so easy! And OMG the taste was sublime. The consistency was spot on. Spoiler alert to anyone who may be having dinner at my house, this will be the dessert you will be served. The flavor combinations are endless and did I mention how darn easy it is?
Ingredients-
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 packet powdered unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 tbsp cold water
4 Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts

Method-
Heat the heavy cream or half-and-half and sugar in a saucepan . Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a medium-sized bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes.

Pour the very warm Panna Cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Divide the Panna Cotta mixture into the Mini Graham Cracker Pie Crusts, then chill them until firm, which should take about 2 hours.


Grilled Boneless Short Ribs

The easiest dinner this week, yeah I did not do any posts this week.  But I am back tonight! Chris seasoned the Boneless Short Ribs with salt and pepper. That's all there was to it. I roasted potatoes and shallots that were tossed in olive oil, sage, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. The salad was lettuce from Jake's. This was the first dinner I had at home in 2 nights. It was so good.

Frittata Sandwiches

I don't know why but this was the best frittata I have had in a while. The flavors were a perfect blend. Nothing was over powering. I used the usual vegetables. Onions, Red Pepper, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Scallions. The cheeses were American, Cheddar, and Parmesan.

 
There was Pancetta on top instead of the usual bacon. Could that have been it?

Vacation Day 10 - And So It Ends - Pizza

Pizza! Chris had never heard of a Zucchini and Swiss Chard pizza before tonight. His half was Pancetta, Onion and Steak. My half was Zucchini and Swiss Chard. And the Chard was from the plant on our deck! Deck to table!

Hi ho hi ho its off to work I go.... 

Vacation Day Nine - Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Running Out of Days!

Egads! This blissful week is almost over. I love my job but I so enjoyed not doing my job for a week. It has been relaxing. Mid afternoon I could curl up on the couch with a book! Amazing! Well, there is still tomorrow.
Tonight we had Grilled Pork Tenderloin and our House Potato Salad. I was reading on Fine Cooking how to grill the perfect pork tenderloin. I followed their procedure with excellent results.

I put the tenderloin in a brine of 1/4 cup salt and a 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups of water for 45 minutes. I rinsed the meat and blotted it dry. I had made a glaze of 2 tbsp. blood orange juice and 2 tsp. fresh minced rosemary mixed with 1tsp of brown sugar. The glaze was heated to and reduced to 1/2. That was brushed over the dried tenderloin. Crushed black pepper was sprinkled over the meat before it went on the grill.
It was grilled for 7 minutes and then turned and grilled for 6 minutes. The heat was turned off and the meat sat on the covered grill for 5 minutes. After removing the meat from the grill it rested for 5 minutes. We think it could have come off the grill in less than 5 minutes.
The result was a super tender and flavorful pork tenderloin.

Vacation Day Eight - Jake's Farm Stand Is Now Open

A sense of calm that has come over me. Jake's Farm Stand is open for the summer. We will now have the best corn on the cob. We will eat the most amazing tomatoes. And I will have to spend only $2.50 for a huge head of lettuce that will make lunches for the week. Happy day!
Tonight along with the Salad, lettuce from Jake's, and the Corn on the Cob, from Jake's, we had a Shoulder London Broil. I had wanted Sirloin Tip Steaks which was on sale, but they were out of them at Robert's. I asked the butcher for something he would recommend in that same price range. He suggested the Shoulder London Broil. Always trust your butcher.
 
Delicious meat. We marinated in a little A-1 Sauce. Tender and the flavor was just what you expect a steak to taste like. Chris did an wonderful job on the grill.


Vacation Day Seven - Italian Tomato Hoagie and Some Art

Tomorrow, July 8th, Jake's Farm Stand opens for the summer. Yeah!!!! The corn, the tomatoes, and the $2.50 heads of lettuce! I had to clean out the fridge in preperation for Jake's produce. I found the perfect recipe for dinner. The Italian Tomato Hoagie. The recipe is from Bon Appetit. I had everything but the Bread and Butter Pickles. I also picked up a loaf of slice Italian bread, less bread than in a Hoagie Roll. We had some leftover chicken and some bacon which were added to the sandwiches. They were delicious.
And some art. Today I went to the Yale Art Gallery with my nieces, Mary Lucia and Anna. I have not been to the gallery since it was renovated. It is much larger and there is a lot more art there. Loved it. All that art but my two favorites are still The Brooklyn Bridge and The Night Café.






Vacation Day Six - We Have A Winner

 
I realize that it is only July 6th but the winner and champion of our favorite potato salad is ...Caesar Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas. The recipe from Bon Appetit. I used Snow Peas in place of the Sugar Snap Peas. The recipe was simple to make and I cut the recipe in half and we had just enough. The dressing was perfect.

And to go along with the potato salad we had BLTs. There was a post from Bishops this weekend on Facebook about the tomatoes which were being sold at Bishops. The first thing that popped into my mind was BLT.  I picked up a loaf of Multi-Grain Bread along with the tomatoes at Bishops and it was a superb dinner.

I especially wanted an easy dinner for tonight after last night's shenanigans on our deck. At 2AM some pesky raccoons were having quite a lot of fun. And I do curse in this video. I am sorry but they busted 2 new hummingbird feeders!

Vacation Day Five - Pasta and Zucchini Salad

Vacation days are perfect for sitting on the deck reading a book and having a cocktail. Today's cocktail was a Blueberry and Basil and Vodka and Soda. Oh, it was very good.
Today it was a little warm so I made a pasta salad and picked up a rotisserie chicken. Tried to keep the house as cool as I could, no we have not turned the air on yet.

The recipe for this pasta came from the New York Times. The recipe was adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's first cookbook, “Plenty. I made a change using snow peas in place of the Edamame.

Ingredients-
Salt
Black pepper
⅔ cup sunflower oil
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
¾ cup snow peas
2 cups basil leaves, shredded coarsely
¼ cup parsley leaves
⅓ cup olive oil
9 ounces  penne pasta
Zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons capers
7 ounces buffalo mozzarella, torn into chunks

Method-
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a medium saucepan, heat sunflower oil over medium-high heat. Fry zucchini slices in batches (do not crowd them) for 3 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a colander to drain. Tip zucchini slices into a bowl, pour vinegar on top and stir, then set aside.

Add the Snow Peas to the oil and fry until they look cooked, about 3 minutes. Drain and add to Zucchini slices.

In a food processor, combine half the basil, all of the parsley and the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and process until smooth.

In boiling water, cook pasta until al dente; drain and rinse under cold water. Return pasta to pot. Pour zucchini slices and snow peas and their juices over pasta. Add basil sauce, lemon zest, capers and mozzarella. Stir together gently, then taste and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Before serving, stir in remaining basil.

Vacation Day Four - Green Salad with Lemon, Mint, and Pita

Happy 4th of July! Tonight I went to the recipe box. The box were I put recipes that I saved from when we were first married. Tonight's recipe, was Green Salad with Lemon, Mint, and Pita. I tried to find out what magazine I cut the recipe out from. I thought It was Better Homes and Garden, but it did not come up in the Google search. Here is photo of the recipe if anyone recognizes the magazine layout.

I had Chris grill a steak to go with the salad. It was a perfectly grilled steak and it was the a good addition to the salad.

Here is the recipe for the Green Salad with Lemon, Mint, and Pita -

Ingredients -
Dressing-
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon peel
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup olive oil
Salad-
4 small (6 inch) pita breads
4 cups romaine lettuce, torn into 1 1/2 inch pieces (I used a mix of baby Frisse, Red and Green Leaf Lettuces)
2 cups diced tomato
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1/2 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Method -
Make Dressing-
Whisk lemon juice, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in oil to blend.
Make Salad-
Heat oven to 350˚F. Split pita breads; arrange in a single layer on large cookie sheet. Bake until just light browned and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes; cool completely, then break into 2 inch pieces.
Toss lettuce and 1/4 dressing in large bowl.
In another bowl, toss pita pieces, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, mint, parsley and remaining dressing.
Arrange the lettuce on large serving plate. Top with pita-and-vegetable mixture. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Vacation Day Three - Family Picnic

The picnic at my sister's house was today. Along with the Flag Pie
I brought over a Green Salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, olives, 
scallions radishes and cheese. And of course I brought Chocolate Chip Cookies.

It was a day of cousins. Lots of cousins. 
It was the first time for meeting cousins for a few.

It was a day of life lessons. 
 
 
Bocci is a family tradition. 
 There were a couple of games and then there was a disturbance on the court.
The line judge was called in to remove the disturbance.
 Bubbles, and bubbles and more fun with cousins.

 It was the first time all the kids were together in a while.

Of course there was food. 
It was such a wonderful day with the family.