Buttery burgers and bountiful salads

It was the kind of night at the Cape where everything is falls into place and all is perfect and right. Everyone felt it. It might have had to do with the fact that our core group was together again, those of us who’ve been coming here since 1986 and have been here every summer since, with the addition of spouses and a kid, and soon another kid. The only thing missing was the loved ones we’ve lost.

We had a ton of vegetables, tomatoes from my csa box, more tomatoes from Bob Luckraft (neighbor & fellow catboat association member), and arugula, peppers and cukes from the Drews’ garden. My mom had some lovely feta from Arax Market in Watertown, and made a tomato and feta salad with a perfectly salty vinegar dressing. Drew made a green salad with his peppery delicious arugula, crisp cukes and little red peppers. Shane & André made Shane’s favorite burgers of the moment, for which he mixes a stick of butter in with the ground meat. We also had bread from Hi-Rise Bread in Cambridge brought by old friends Ann & Chuck.


I love quiche because I like eggs mixed with a lot of dairy, which is essentially what quiche is. Also, quiche is really, really easy to make.

I used my own vegetarian take on the Quiche Lorraine recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook (below). It was excellent. To make this really simple you could just purchase a pre-made pie crust and I’m sure it would come out great. I like to make my own crust, and aside from all of the putting it into and taking it back out of the fridge and oven, it really is foolproof and easy with a Basic Pastry Dough.

The last thing I had left from my csa box were the green beans. I blanched them and mixed them with a dijon mustard vinaigrette, and they were delish. We also had a cucumber salad with lime dressing.

• Vegetarian Quiche Lorraine •
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 cups half & half
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1 tsp. salt
dash of nutmeg
3/4 cups cheddar cheese cut into 1/4″ cubes 

Whisk together all ingredients except for the cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared pie crust*. Sprinkle cheddar over crust. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes until puffed and golden brown on top. 

*Note: If you are making your own crust. Roll the chilled dough out into a 13″ circle. Place in pie plate and trim leaving about 1/2″ hanging over the edge, turn edge in and crimp. Poke the crust all over with a fork and  refrigerate for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, cover with foil and  fill with pie weights, raw rice or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes at 375. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes. Proceed as directed above.

Vineyard Sole

Man oh man do I  love Martha’s Vineyard. As a kid we sometimes summered there and were allowed to run free, unsupervised, walking and cycling all over the island. Our friends the Blancos, are spending the week there and we visited them today. They are staying in an incredible house in Chilmark built in 1965 and designed by Eliot Noyes. The house is almost exactly the same as it was when featured in Life Magazine in 1965. Fond memories, good friends, rad 60’s modern architecture and excellent seafood made for a delightful time all around.

We had raw oysters in Menemsha in the evening and picked up some Vineyard Sole to cook at home. Because I had such great luck cooking black sole the Adriatic way in Ireland, I did the same with the Vineyard Sole with equally good results. Anna made a delicious salad with cucumbers, peppers, carrots, capers and a lemony dressing and we had some fresh corn and leftover pasta on the side. It was perfect.

• Vineyard Sole cooked the Adriatic Way (Panko Variation) •
5 medium filets (approx 1.5lbs)  of Vineyard (or other) sole
3 cups of panko bread crumbs
juice of 3 lemons
3/4 cup olive oil
1-2 tsp salt

Mix panko, lemon juice, olive oil and salt to combine. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if desired. Preheat broiler. Lay sole filets on a baking sheet and thoroughly cover tops of filets with panko mixture. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Broil for 5-7 minutes until cooked through and bread crumbs are lightly browned. If your broiler is very hot, you might find that the crumbs get brown before the fish is done. In this case, remove from broiler, turn the oven to 500 and bake until fish is cooked through. Enjoy.

Note: We’ve used other white fish for this, flounder works well as do other types of sole. My mom uses this recipe for Cod, but I haven’t had luck with it (see here & here).

Fish we didn’t catch

Usually when we have fish on Cape Cod it’s because someone caught it. Tonight we had salmon from Stop & Shop. I cooked it in parchment using this really quick and easy recipe again. All agreed that it was delicious. See this post for my notes on how I made it without using twine.

Anna made the yummy kale salad that it seems only she can make properly. I don’t know why it didn’t come out well when I made it. Anna says her trick is to be heavy handed with the olive oil, salt and cheese and to really massage the kale well.

Our tiny group was made slightly less tiny by the addition of half of the Drew’s family tonight. Drew brought a mix of homegrown broccolini and broccoli rabe which he sauteed with garlic. He also brought a couple of pints of Talenti gelato for dessert. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should (just please be sure to re-use that hefty plastic container it comes in).


Intimate Cape

We had an intimate Cape dinner last night, just five of us. I had lots of tomatoes from my csa box and decided to make that delicious  Pasta With Tomato and Ginger Salsa and Creme Fraiche again. My family agreed that the dish can use a lot more fresh ginger than the recipe calls for.

• Rita’s Signature Salad, Blueberries & Orange Version •
Make a batch of  Rita’s Dressing with orange juice and zest, instead of lemon. Make the dressing in the salad bowl and then add all of the ingredients that can safely sit in the dressing, in this case, blueberries and fresh herbs. Put the leafy greens and anything that can’t sit in the dressing without getting soggy, on top and then leave it alone. Toss just before eating. When the time comes to toss the salad, Rita will tell you that you need to “mix it, really, really mix it.” It’s a great way to bring salad to a friend’s house, all in one bowl, without having to put the dressing in a bottle or jar.

After dinner

We had dinner at a party tonight. In lieu of a post about dinner, here is a photo of the very delicious cocktail Shane made for us after dinner. It was a lemony, limey, dash of cranberry, vodka & triple sec drink, blended with ice. If it wasn’t so late, I’d invite you over for one right now.

Pizza to pasta, a story of failure and redemption

Shane was planning make pizza last night but the yeast was bad and the dough didn’t rise. He cooked a pie with the bad dough anyhow. It’s true, the dough wasn’t right, it was thin, but too crispy. Shane would only let me serve the pizza with the disclaimer that it was terrible, crappy pizza. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their terrible, crappy pizza, while Shane cooked up some pasta. We had the tomato sauce over pasta, and the pizza toppings on the side. It was just fine, good even.

Steak for the injured

Shane fell off of his bike this morning, he’s fine but rather banged up. I suggested steak, and he brought home two. Shane likes a grilled ribeye steak. Since we live in an apartment building and cannot grill outdoors, we use a cast-iron grilling pan.

• Indoor-Grilled Ribeye Steak •
Lightly oil a cast-iron grillig pan, preheat pan on the range top, over a high flame. Season your steak, with salt and pepper and cook until done, 5-7 minutes per side for medium rare. A good cut of meat should not need a lot of seasoning but you can serve with steak sauce, if you like.

Do you know those little red, orange and yellow peppers they sell at Costco? They come in a bag and are about 2-3″ long? Well, they’re delicious and easy to make.

• Roasted Cubanelle Peppers •
Rinse the peppers, toss them in olive oil and salt, and roast them in a 400 degree oven, until they’re soft and juicy. They’re good enough just like that. Tonight, I ripped bufala mozzarella into bite-size chunks, tossed it with the peppers, and heated in the oven for two minutes, until the cheese was just warm through.

The salad was arugula and farro with a creamy lemon, yogurt and olive oil dressing. I will make it again (with measuring) and post a recipe sometime.