A Steady Table twofer

Tonight we present a Steady Table twofer (that’s a two-for-one, in case you didn’t know). There are two reasons for the twofer. One is that the cooking of tonight’s meal occurred over the course of two days. The other is that a certain silly pregnant person overexerted herself, spent some time in the ER* and is now playing catch up.

On Monday, we wanted to do something relatively simple for 16 people. Despite the volume of food, and the manpower it takes to make a meal for 16, it really was an easy meal.

Dinner prep wasn’t made any easier by the fact that Shane and Sean were preparing four (!) racks of ribs for Tuesday’s meal, at the same time they were preparing Monday’s meal. But they pulled it off, with help from everyone.

Menu:
A simple summer dinner for 16
4 lbs of ground beef made into burgers, and/or cheeseburgers, and cooked on the grill
16 ears of corn, boiled and served with butter and salt
16 potatoes, oiled and wrapped in foil, and cooked over the coals
A simple cucumber and tomato salad dressed with red wine vinegar, salt and olive oil
3 bags of cubanelle peppers oiled, salted, and roasted in the oven until soft and silky
A green salad
Ketchup, mustard, mayo, butter, sour cream, pickles and any other condiments you might like
Drinks
Ice cream novelties for dessert

Tonight was a bit disrupted by my pregnancy crisis, so I can’t tell you much about meal prep except that Shane made the best ribs he’s made so far, in his Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. He had a lot of help from Sean and, well, everyone else.

There was also homemade barbeque sauce, succotash from scratch, and a selection of delicious pizzas—including fig and gorgonzola—by Drew. For dessert, 13-year old Alicia made a very delicious peach and rum cobbler.

Thanks to everyone who took care of me and everything this evening. Especially my sister in law Trish, who spent 5 hours of her vacation keeping me company at the hospital.

*The ER on Cape Cod can run circles around any of the stinky, dirty, creepy, ERs in NYC, by the way. And no worries, everything is fine with the baby, I just need to take it easy from now on.

Skewers, and lots of ’em

Skewers_Grill_IMG_8682Our family is over from Ireland, not all of them, but we’ll take what we can get. We usually only see them once a year, so that’s really the big news tonight.

We figured seafood was a good way to welcome them to the Cape. Dinner was pretty simple, fresh-caught flounder cooked the Adriatic way, skewers of corn, chorizo, shrimp and potatoes, a cucumber and tomato salad, and a kale salad.

The skewer recipe left a bit to be desired. Something was wrong with the timing provided, and the potatoes came out way underdone. I’d like to improve on it and try again, because otherwise it seems like a great, easy meal, and yummy too.

Essentially, you skewer par-boiled corn and potatoes (that’s the part where the timing needs work), shrimp and chorizo, sprinkle the skewers with cajun seasoning and grill for 3-5 minutes per side. How easy is that?

Hopefully we’ll remember to give it another try and make a note of the timing, so I can post a recipe for you.

I’ve been using my mom’s tip for tomato salads recently. She pointed out that if you have a decent tomato, it’s the juice that makes the dressing. All you need to do is sprinkle a little red wine vinegar, salt, and olive oil over your tomato salad, and somehow it’s delicious. Give it a try.

Skewers_Fish_Salad_IMG_8692

 

 

Having dinner at #3

Cape_Vaca3_IMG_8671Tonight we had  a very small group, only 10 people. We decided to eat in the guest house, aka Arthur’s house, aka #3, to give it a test run. Shane’s family is coming to stay tomorrow and we wanted to be sure the house was in good shape.

We had a simple meal of pasta with Drew & Cathy’s tomato sauce, and sausages for the meat eaters. I made roasted eggplant with a pesto-ish sauce made of basil, roasted & salted almonds & olive oil. My mom made salad with my CSA cukes, fresh oregano and The Drew’s seemingly endless supply of Chinese cabbage.

It was a pretty night, and a nice chance to sit at a table small enough that no one was too far away to talk to.

The title of this post is by Rose, who wanted to write the entire post, but got tired after coming up with a title.

 

Booze cruise and outdoor stir fry

Tonight was one of those epic Cape nights. Around 6:00 we went out for a two-boat booze cruise. Both boats motored out to Waquoit Bay and then tied up together at our mooring. We had sea breezes, guacamole, chips and delicious olives. Drew went for a swim and there was lots of transferring of a fancy little lady from one boat to another.

When we returned home the “kids” removed to the Kids House for more cocktails, this time Caipirinha’s by Shane, while everyone else did the hard work of making dinner, which it turned out was a pretty exciting event.

Drew made a huge stir fry with the loads of vegetables he and Cathy have been growing out in Western Mass. The best part was that he cooked it on his gigantic gas burner, outside!

I have to admit that I don’t get very excited by the idea of a stir fry. To me it brings back memories of meals cooked in college before any of us knew how to cook. But Drew’s was something else completely. So flavorful and well thought out. I should have known it would be amazing.

Ronni made the best gazpacho any of us has ever had. And Cathy made pickled green beans, also from their garden. So good. There were two kinds of rice, black and brown, both really tasty.

Did I mention that Kate is back from the UK? She makes us feel like summer is in really full swing. And Iris is here too, always a welcome addition.

Things will quiet down tonight as some folks return home for the work week. But not for long, the Irish are on their way!

Cape vacation meal #1

Cape1_IMG_8627Our age old tradition is to have roast chicken on the Friday nights when everyone arrives at the Cape. Us New Yorkers usually miss out on this meal, in fact we don’t even know if the rest of our family has been keeping up with the Friday roast chicken tradition.

My dad roasted the chickens (three Bell & Evans organic roasters) with lemon, loads of butter, carrots, parsnips, onions and potatoes. It’s a recipe he learned when my mom was pregnant with me, and has been making ever since.

Anna made a Grilled Corn and Barley Salad from Food 52 that’s been on my Pinterest “recipes to try” board for a while. It was really good. (It’s now on the “recipes I’ve tried” board.) Drew made his famous kale salad with peanut dressing. And I made swiss chard with, you guessed it, cippolini onions and blue cheese.

More tomorrow!

 

Tortilla pie

TortillaPie_IMG_8619Now this is a casserole I can really get behind. Tortilla pie, yummy, easy, quick.

I’ve been thinking over the past few days, perhaps because of the cooler weather, that I need an arsenal of casserole recipes. The fact that my nesting instinct has kicked in way prematurely, is probably also responsible, at least in part, for me having casseroles on the brain.

Five year old Rose, pointed out that I really don’t need to start freezing meals until September or October. But I can’t help it. It’s biological.

As with pasta salad, my conundrum was that I’d fixated on a type of dish that I am not generally a fan of. When I think of casserole, I think of something involving soggy egg noodles, cooked, canned tuna and possibly cream of mushroom soup – ew!

The last time I made a casserole, it was very tasty, but not quite my-kind-of-dinner enough for me to want to make again, unless I was invited to a football party.

There had to be something better out there, I put a request for ideas out on facebook. Good folks posted some great looking recipes.

Tortilla pie comes from the wonderful blog Dinner A Love Story. I have to admit, I was doubtful about the whole wheat tortillas, shouldn’t they be corn? But I trusted DALS, and I’m glad I did. The pie was delicious.

Nice, fresh, CSA zucchini, sliced and sauteed in olive oil with slivered fresh basil and a sprinkling of sea salt, was the perfect accompaniment.

• Tortilla Pie •
from Dinner A Love Story, original recipe here

vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper
a 12oz bottle of beer
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
about 1 scallion, chopped
1 package frozen corn (about 10oz)
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
about 4 whole wheat tortillas

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Saute the onion, garlic, jalapeno and cumin in some vegetable oil in a skillet until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the beans and the beer, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the liquid is almost all gone. Add the scallion and corn, stir to combine and remove from heat.

Grease one large (or two medium – see note below*) pie plates with oil. Place a tortilla in the bottom of the pie plate. Top with about 1/2 cup of cheese and 1 cup of the bean and corn mixture. Continue layering, tortilla, cheese, bean/corn, about 4 times total, until everything is used up. The top layer should be bean and corn mixture topped with about a cup of cheese. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese on top is  melted and a little bit browned. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

*I used two medium-ish-small pie plates and split the ingredients equally in half. Half a recipe was enough to feed our family of three with some left over. The other half went into the freezer!

Lazy Wednesday!

LazyWednesday_E77Rose has been dying to get back to our regular Wednesday, post-gymnastics dinners at Espresso 77. We haven’t been going there lately because of Injury Man, who still needs a lot of help doing things.

But getting dinner? It occurred to me today that he gets his own lunch, he’s probably able to get his own post-physical therapy dinner. Not to sound cruel or anything.

Shane didn’t seem to mind being tasked with taking care of himself, so Rose and I went out. Hooray for Espresso 77!

Rose got grilled cheese, as usual. I was finally able to try the eggplant salad sandwich, whenever I’ve ordered it previously, they’ve been out. I highly recommend it.

Rose sealed the meal with a black & white cookie, after which we went straight home to do more gymnastics.

Oh la la!

Fancy_IMG_8617This looks awfully fancy, doesn’t it? I assure you it’s not.

We’re all exhausted today and I wanted to make the easiest thing, besides takeout. This usually means ravioli with faux penne alla vodka sauce, which is the world’s easiest sauce to make. There was no cheese ravioli to be had at Italian Farms, so we got stuffed rigatoni.

The salad was simply cukes and yellow peppers with lemon and lime juice, a splash of rice vinegar and a glug of olive oil.

See, not fancy. Just looks that way.

Shrimp & white beans

Shrimp&WhiteBeans_IMG_8611In case you missed the previous posts (here and here), we love this dish! So quick, so easy, so good! With a teeny salad on the side, you’ve got a well rounded meal.

If you keep shrimp in your freezer and canned beans & tomatoes in your pantry, this is the kind of meal you can whip up without a trip to the store. Which is exactly what I did today.

• Shrimp & White Beans •
from Bon Appetit, recipe here, reproduced below for your convenience

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 dried chiles de árbol (I skip these because of the kid)
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
1 1/4 cups chopped tomato (I use San Marzano from a can)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans white beans (such as cannellini), rinsed, drained
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Grilled bread (optional)

Preheat broiler. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 garlic clove, chiles, and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, just until fragrant, 1–2 minutes (do not allow garlic to burn). Add tomato; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and smashing tomato with the back of a wooden spoon, until tomato is completely broken down, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is deep red and caramelized, 3–4 minutes. Stir in beans and broth. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook until juices are slightly reduced and thickened, 3–4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine remaining 2 garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp. oil, shrimp, and paprika in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper and toss to evenly coat shrimp. Scatter shrimp over beans in an even layer.

Broil until shrimp are golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over shrimp and beans; garnish with parsley. Serve with bread, if desired

Summatime inspiration

Summatime_IMG_8606Last night we had dinner with our friends Ian & Britta, and their four (!) children, in celebration of their eldest’s 5th birthday. They made us a wonderful meal of veggies from the grill, sweet corn, pasta with yogurt, zucchini and tomatoes*, steak and hot dogs. They took care of Shane’s meat deprivation, and Rose’s too. Ian even cut Shane’s steak for him.

Did I show my gratitude to our very dear friends by carefully documenting and posting about the delicious meal they made for us? No. I was too busy enjoying their company and food to remember, but that’s no excuse. When I finally did think to take pictures, dinner was mostly over and I took a few crappy shots with my iphone that aren’t worth posting.

The reason I’m telling you all of this, is not only to assuage my bad food-blogger-guest guilt. It’s also to thank Ian and Britta for reminding me about summer. I’ve been so fixated on heat wave meals, and being hot and pregnant, that I forgot about all of the things I adore about summer, and summer dining. Corn! Zucchini! Grilled veggies! Meat for my family! And those languid, dreamy, long evenings.

Thanks guys, for the reminder. Tonight’s summatime meal was inspired by you.

*Britta, please post a link to the pasta recipe, if you have time.