Post-wedding wedding party

A couple of weeks ago, on Father’s Day to be precise, my lovely sister and delightful now brother in law Chris, tied the knot in a surprise ceremony at Chris’ parents house. Actually, they crashed his mom’s party with said wedding, but I’m pretty sure she was cool with it.

It goes without saying that the next time the newlyweds came to the Cape, we had a party.

Dinner was salmon baked in parchment with leeks, an absolutely amazing red rice salad with edamame, walnuts, lemon and herbs (see below) made by Ronni, and a yummy green salad to round things off. It was pretty highbrow for the Cape. And delicious.

For dessert there was a wedding cake made by my mom (aka the mother of the bride). Our family favorite, the chocolate mayonnaise cake with mocha butter cream between the layers to make things fancy, and beach rose embellishments.

See photo captions above and click on images for a bigger view.

• Red (or Black) Rice Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette •
from Bon Appetit

1 cup black rice (we used red)
Kosher salt
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice or 3 tablespoons regular lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup (nectar) or honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces green beans, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook rice in a medium saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 35-40 minutes. Drain well, spread out on a plate or a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool.
Meanwhile, spread out walnuts on another rimmed baking sheet. Toast in oven, tossing once, until fragrant, 8-10 minutes. Let cool; chop.
Whisk lemon juice, vinegar, and agave in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually drizzle in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt.
Toss rice, walnuts, scallions, edamame, tomatoes, green beans, and vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Cape vacation

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetI had several requests to document our first Cape vacation meal, so here you go.

We’re trying hard to simplify this year, fewer dishes and less food. The idea is to be mindful of waste and prevent unnecessary extra work, we’re here to relax after all.

Since there were 22 of us, we fed the 7 kids early so as to make dinner slightly less totally insane.

Shane did an excellent job of commandeering a meal of grilled steak with chimmichuri sauce, grilled asparagus, miso corn salad, and quesadillas with (and without) beans.

There were lots of oohs and aahs and excellents when we finally tucked in. And there were hardly any leftovers!

Here’s another look at that corn salad, watch the comments for recipes, coming soon.
MisoCornSalad_IMG_6756

 

The answer is shakshuka

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOn Sunday, while working on our weekly meal plan, I wondered aloud on facebook whether we should have pasta with corn on Monday, or shakshuka. Only my friend Rachel replied, and she did so after I’d already decided on shakshuka (which is what she thought I should make too).

So there you go.

It’s a dish I’ve wanted to try for years. Why didn’t I? It’s really, really good. My mom (who made it) says there are quicker recipes than the one I chose. But man it was good.

Rose complained a lot at first, but ultimately loved it. Shane didn’t fuss, even though he thinks eggs are not a “proper meal.”

Don’t, don’t, don’t forget the grilled bread!

 

Last week’s highlights: chicken in milk & pasta con asparagi

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetA couple of new recipes made their appearance last week. First was Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk (recipe via Food52).

My mom had just finished making the chicken when I got home from work and said: “We should make Jamie Oliver all the time, I think he really gets it.”Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe men were not so easily wooed, and felt the dish was a bit bland. I’m going to have to get a 3rd party opinion on this one, since I don’t eat chicken. Rose seemed to like the it just fine. And Sid who leans vegetarian, opted for peanut butter, straight up.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetOn Wednesday we had Craig Claiborne’s Pasta con Asparagi (also via Food52). This one was well received all around.

It’s a funny-seeming combo of tomatoes, egg, asparagus and cheese, that comes out really nice, with a nice high ratio of veggies to pasta. It’s also really easy to make quickly if you have 20 minutes or so to do the prep earlier in the day or the night before.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

 

 

Last weekend

We had a very, very quiet weekend at the Cape. There were only 7 of us, including the kids.

We celebrated the birthday of someone who shall remain nameless, with burgers, corn, beer, iceberg wedges, tater tots and cake (see previous post for cake recipe).

In an unexpected turn of events, we didn’t have anyone present who knew how to grill. This problem was quickly remedied with a phone call to Shane and a few stiff cocktails.

45 minutes later, everyone was lit enough for the grilled stuff to seem perfectly acceptable. Did I mention there were iceberg wedges?

The cake had been made earlier by me, and embellished by Rose with her inimitable flair. Happy Birthday you-know-who!

 

Cake

 I’m always up for making a chocolate mayonnaise cake. Recipe here, enjoy!

Pasta with asparagus, mushrooms, lemon & herbed ricotta

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetLast Sunday I was on the computer doing our family meal plan for the week, and my mom asked what I was up to. “I’m looking for a recipe for Thursday that’s not pasta.” I already had pasta on the menu for Monday, bread & cheese on Tuesday, and pizza scheduled for Wednesday.

And then I happened upon the recipe for Lemony Asparagus Pasta with Mushrooms and Herbed Ricotta at Food 52 which sounded awful good. I said screw it, and my mom helpfully pointed out that Italians eat pasta every day.

Done deal! I’ll make this again, with a bit more oil, and a lot more salt.

 

Baby dinner

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetA little baby dinner post, because on Cape Cod we rarely eat before 9.

Pictured is a pasta I like to make for my kids in a pinch, it’s easier than mac & cheese from a box, and usually more well received by my two.

Here’s what you do: Boil up some pasta, drain it (but not too well), put it back in the pot with a big blob of cream cheese, a pat of butter and a handful of grated cheese. Whatever cheese you have on hand will work, mozzarella, cheddar, parm, it’s all good.

Mix it up until the cheeses are melted and smooth, add salt and pepper (if you like), and serve. You can even throw in some peas if you’ve got ’em.

And how cute are those tiny crocs?

Taco Tuesday

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetTaco Tuesday. As demonstrated by Rose, it’s not just for Lego guys.  Not pictured are: grated cheese, shredded romaine, sour cream (sometimes) and a selection of beer.

Did you know that the hard taco shells and seasoning kit from Whole Foods is cheaper than the Ortega kit? Now you do. Happy Tuesday!Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Chicken, bread, salad, cheese

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetThis is a great meal for a busy weeknight when you’re feeding a family that’s 1/3 vegetarian & 2/3 omnivore.
Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe meal is very quick and easy. All you need are these ingredients: chicken breasts, some spices, salt & pepper, olive oil, some nice grape or campari tomatoes (or pre-made bruschetta topping), boxed greens, maybe some random stuff from your fridge, your favorite dressing or oil and vinegar, crusty bread, brie (at room temperature) and/or other soft cheese(s).

Start with a simple grilled chicken, which I like to call weekday grilled chicken. The first thing you do when you get into the kitchen is to flatten the boneless, skinless breasts with a mallet so they are more or less a consistent thickness. (This step is optional but will keep your cooking time down and make it so that the chicken pieces are ready at more or less the same time)

Then, season the chicken with some spice mix, I like Camp Mix , or lemon pepper, or just whatever sounds good plus lots of salt and pepper and some olive oil, and let it hang out until you’re ready to cook it.

Next, make your veggie dishes. My mom happened to be home tonight because she fainted at work, so she made an amazing tomato topping for our crusty bread, with grape tomatoes, olives, capers and lemon zest.

To keep things easy, you could buy some pre-made bruschetta topping. Otherwise, just bung a few tasty ingredients in a bowl with  chopped tomatoes (ie: Capers, fresh herbs, olives, garlic, citrus zest, scallions—whatever you’ve got in the fridge—you can experiment a bit) then add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice, salt, pepper and a few glugs of olive oil.

Make a really simple green salad, because all of the vegetable fanciness is going to be in the tomato mix. By simple, I mean boxed greens with oil and vinegar, that simple.

Once all that’s done, lightly oil and heat up your cast iron grilling pan. Start setting the table while the grilling pan gets hot. When it’s hot put the chicken in the pan.

Finish setting the table, put your crusty bread out with your nice cheese(s), salad, tomato topping and drinks. Flip the chicken so it gets nice and grilled on both sides. When it’s cooked through (about 10 minutes for a piece that’s been pounded to about 1/2″ thickness), remove from pan and slice it up.

Voila! A great meal quick that makes both vegetarians and meat eaters happy.