the start of summer
We survived our first official weekend of summer. Despite the heavy rains at the Jersey shore on Sunday, Thursday through Saturday were beautiful weather days. If you live at the Jersey shore, you see an uptick in summertime guests. This past weekend my daughter and granddaughter came down for several days to take advantage of the beautiful weather.
perfect BBQ side
It’s Memorial Day weekend and you’ve been invited to a barbecue. Being the congenial friend, you offer to bring a side dish. No hostess wants to be checking the oven for a side dish that has to be reheated, nor do they want to worry about the heat spoiling salads with mayonnaise. Well, I have the perfect potato salad for you.
belated birthday dinner
Although my daughter celebrated her 30th birthday last June, she and I finally got to share her birthday dinner. Last fall I gave her tickets to see the Broadway play, "Hamilton." We were to do a pre-theatre dinner, however, there was a slight change in our plans and dinner was postponed.
Fast forward to 2018, I gave her the option of lunch at DelPosto in New York or somewhere else. She decided that she wanted to try Modine in Asbury Park. I had just been there in late April to celebrate my daughter-in-law's birthday.
With the arrival of warmer weather, soft shell crabs are coming to market. While shopping at Wegmans today, they had in their fish case cleaned soft shell crabs for $6 ea. However, I went down the aisle a bit and saw they had a package of two pre-cooked, tempura coated soft shell crabs for $10. I couldn't resist an easy meal, so I picked up a package pre-cooked crabs for myself. The soft shell crabs had to be heated in a 350° oven, 10 minutes per side. Since my husband doesn't care for soft shell crabs, I picked up a half pound of scallops for him ($14.99/lb.). I prepared the scallops using Wegmans Pan Searing Flour ($2.99) and sautéed them in a bit of butter and extra virgin olive oil.
My husband’s cousin was passing through New Jersey on her way to pick up her daughter from college. She planned an overnight visit with us, which was so thoughtful of her as we haven’t seen in a very long time.
In preparing for her visit, I decided to make a British-style currant scone, a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen which looked very easy to do. The first part of the recipe is done in the food processor. I made the scones from start to finish in under an hour. As soon as they came out of the oven, I couldn’t resist breaking into one. The scones had a delicate, soft texture and a fine crumb. They were enjoyable without the addition of jam or clotted cream.
In building a rotation of breakfast egg dishes for my husband, I came across a recipe for a Baked Asparagus and Yellow Pepper Frittata from the April 1999 issue of Gourmet Magazine. This recipe seemed appropriate as it being spring and asparagus is now in season. Besides the asparagus, the frittata has yellow bell peppers, a zucchini and some fresh flat leaf parsley for brightness. There is a small amount of heavy cream, but with 10 eggs a little richness will go a long way.
Striving to help reduce the carbs my husband and I eat daily, I was looking for a meal that would be big on flavor, but no carbs. Again I turned to Lidia's Italy cookbook and found a recipe for Sausage with Fennel and Olives. Did you know that fennel is part of the carrot family and its taste is similar to licorice? During the holidays my mother would purchase fennel and would eat it as a digestive aid after a large holiday meal. These days, cooks are preparing it as a side dish.
This is a wonderful, one pan meal that can be prepared in under 45 minutes.
Instead of using the pork sausage that the recipe calls for, I used Giannelli turkey sausage ($4.99/lb.) that I found at Wegmans. Other ingredients include dry white wine, large green olives and the fennel. I found beautiful fennel bulbs at Delicious Orchards ($2.99 each). In my refrigerator I had some Nocellara olives that came from a gift basket. They are an Italian green olive packed in brine.
craving some beef
Can one ever tire of a specific food? I’ve had my fill of chicken, so now what I crave was some beef. Trying to eat healthier meant finding a recipe with minimal beef, but maximum flavor.
I reached for Lidia’s Italy cookbook and fingered through the pages looking for something enticing for supper the other evening. I came across a recipe for Sautéed Spice Beef Cutlets; it sounded interesting. The mere blending of cinnamon and ground cloves caught my attention.
Lidia’s recipe called for purchasing 2”-3” pieces of top round or any type of boneless beef and making thin slices of meat. Since it was just my husband and I, beef top round cutlets at Wegmans for $6.29/lb. worked perfectly. Yes, it’s considerably more than making the cutlets myself, but I didn’t need that much beef. Other specific ingredients for this recipe are fresh flat leaf Italian parsley and fresh garlic to go along with the spices.
My husband recently decided that he wanted to reduce his carbohydrate intake. He switched to lettuce wrap sandwiches instead of using bread and occasionally he wanted eggs for breakfast. I don’t know about you, but at 5:30 neither he or I are ready to scramble eggs. Instead, I decided to dig through my breakfast file and came up with two great recipes that are working as a pre-made breakfast.
lemon ricotta pancakes
Like all good cooks, sometimes you find yourself in a rut preparing the same, easy recipes you’ve grown accustomed to. However, I did get motivated the other day. A few years ago my daughter requested lemon ricotta pancakes, which I dutiful found and prepared for her. This week I thought I would surprise her and make them again at her house. However, a search of my files turned up nothing. A search of the web didn’t turn up any recipes that I wanted to try. However, that changed when I went to the Williams-Sonoma website and located a delicious and easy recipe for their lemon ricotta pancakes. Your grocery list needs to include a fresh lemon and a 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.