Picnic in the car

From a cottage fridge with little left in it, comes this not-too-shabby car picnic for three:
2 Hot dogs
2 brie, roasted red pepper and arugula sandwiches
1 bufala mozzarella, basil and olive oil sandwich
1 cream cheese and honey sandwich

We were tired, but not starving, when we arrived home at 11pm last night.
Mission accomplished.

Just another Saturday night

Dinner for 16, just another Saturday night at the Cape. Photos, left to right:

1. Rachel and Kate grating the carrots. 2. Shrimp ready to grill. 3. Table set for 16 in the olive garden (no endless breadsticks, but the food is much better).

4. Vodka, natch. 5. Flowering broccoli. 6. Girls, dogs and sea-breezes.

7. Flowering (non-heading) broccoli salad with watermelon radish. 8. Cheese on the chair. 9. Drew and his grilled veggies.

10. Pasta almost ready. 11. Cheers! 12. The dinner plate.

• Grilled shrimp •
Sautee some minced garlic in a lot of butter, mix in a lot of Paul Prudhomme’s Blackened Redfish Magic and apply liberally to shrimp before grilling or, broiling. Grill or broil shrimp until just cooked through, flipping half way.

We also had Linguine with Butter, Pecorino, Arugula and Black Pepper, a favorite from Giada De Laurentiis. The carrot, feta and mint dish I made last Tuesday. Grilled homegrown veggies by Drew. A really cool flowering broccoli, called non-heading broccoli, and watermelon radish salad from the Drews’ garden, made by Rita.

Dinner was followed by ice cream from Smitty’s and then s’mores and sparklers over by the fire pit. Suffice it to say, we’re full.


Surf and turf for 16

We had a classic, communal Cape meal last night. 16 people for dinner and almost everyone participated in some way, whether it was growing the vegetables, catching the fish, cooking, prepping, setting the table or cleaning up. This is how we roll on Cape Cod, it’s what’s kept things going here, harmoniously, for so many years (25 years and counting!)

The flounder was caught locally and prepared by Drew (baked topped with pesto from the Drews’ garden in Western Mass). Shell steak (aka NY Strip) “imported” from The Butcher Block in Sunnyside, NY by Shane, and grilled on the Weber by grillmaster Goo-Goo Sean. Two delicious salads made by Rita with lemon, lettuce and parsley from my csa box and arugula from the Drews’ garden. A tomato and onion salad (a la Peter Luger Steak House) by me and Shane. I made a “restaurant-style” vinaigrette for the tomato and onion salad with red wine vinegar, honey, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, salt and olive oil. Potatoes Gratin by Shane, really, really delicious, from this recipe.

On the road

Whenever we’re heading to Boston or Cape Cod (or anywhere else Northeast) we stop for dinner at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in Fairfield, CT. We like to order ahead so our pie is piping hot when we arrive. Last night’s pie, half cheese, half salami, was expertly cut into small, eating in the car-friendly pieces by the lovely Sharice. If you’re planning to eat in the car, just ask for the “checkerboard” cut.

Lazy Wednesday

On Wednesday nights Shane goes to his studio after work, thus reducing our family’s collective body mass by almost two-thirds. I think this is the perfect excuse for a bit of mid-week laziness. Tonight we had the last egg in the fridge cooked sunny-side-up, broccoli, buttered farfalline and last night’s leftover sides (which were both still excellent on day two).


Avoiding veggie fatigue

I’ve been getting a lot of zucchini and carrots in my csa box these past weeks, with even more coming on Thursday. I decided to try some new recipes in an attempt at avoiding zucchini and carrot fatigue. Both were delicious, even Shane liked them and he’s not much of a veggie guy, unless you count potatoes.

The carrots were Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Salad with Harissa, Feta and Mint. I didn’t have harissa so I just used a bit of red pepper flakes instead, I was also out of parsley. It was really good, even without the harissa and parsley. This can be made quickly if you have a grater attachment for your Cuisinart.

• Zucchini and Quinoa with Yogurt, Cilantro & Av0cado Dressing •
Adapted from this recipe, from 101 Cookbooks
Using the recipe at the link above, this is what I did differently: For the dressing, I tripled the cilantro, doubled the salt, replaced 1/4 cup of the water with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and left out the garlic. For the salad, I doubled the zucchini and cooked it in the broiler with olive oil and salt until browned in parts but not all over. I left out the eggs (had them for lunch), the cheese (because we were already having feta with the carrots) and the pine nuts (do you know about pine mouth? I’m a sufferer).

Note: I would definitely make this again without the substitutions, particularly if I had some non-pine-mouth-causing European pine nuts on hand and wasn’t already having goat cheese in another dish.

For the carnivores I made Weekday Grilled Chicken. Super easy and quick, I make it at least once a week these days.

• Weekday Grilled Chicken •
Thaw or purchase two organic, boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, rinse and pat dry. Pre-heat a cast iron grilling pan. Sprinkle breasts with any kind of Camp Mix (I used Original tonight). Put a little oil in the grilling pan and grill the breasts for approximately 7 minutes per side until cooked through.

Just add new sides

Saturday’s left over ribs plus new sides equalled delicious tonight. I served them with carrots & chick peas which I oven roasted with cumin and lemon. Sauteed cippolini onions & cabbage topped with soy toasted walnuts and gorgonzola cheese. Princess rice (jasmine rice – get it? – made with butter and a little bit of Better Than Boullion).

The carrots, cabbage and onions are from my csa box.

After a long car ride

We spent 6 1/2 hours in the car coming back from Cape Cod, it should have taken 5. It was already 7:30, so I made a quick pasta dish which I call Faux Penne alla Vodka. Faux Penne alla Vodka is for when you really, really don’t have any time because regular Penne alla Vodka is already pretty quick to make, I like the Lidia Bastianich recipe.

• Faux Penne Alla Vodka •
(Makes enough for 1/2 lb of pasta)
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup half and half (or light, heavy or whipping cream)
salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Add the tomato paste and stir to blend with the melted butter. Add cream, salt and pepper. I’m pretty heavy-handed with the salt in this dish, because it’s just a  low sauce to pasta ratio. Taste for seasoning. Drain pasta and toss with a little butter or oil. Add sauce and stir to coat pasta. Yum. This sauce is really good on ravioli too. 

I also made radicchio salad with balsamic dressing (honey, balsamic vinegar, salt, olive oil) topped with loads of grated pecorino and simple sauteed cabbage (olive oil, garlic, red peper flakes, lemon, salt).

Ribs for a few

in progress

We had a record low number of people for dinner at the Cape tonight, there were only eight of us! Shane has been perfecting his smoked ribs for the past two summers. This was his first attempt this summer and all meat eaters agreed it was his best yet.

André made three types of barbeque sauce, North Carolina, South Carolina and Kansas City, they were all really good but most people favored either North Carolina or KC.

We also had mashed potatoes, baked beans (Bush’s from a can), asparagus roasted with olive oil and lemon pepper, really good zucchini from my csa box sauteed in butter and olive oil and topped with lots of parmesan cheese, buttered carrots.

Welcome to The Steady Table

Hello and welcome to The Steady Table. My name is Nina Max Daly and my family eats together every night.* Here at thesteadytable.com you will find a photo journal of our dinners, starting tonight! I’m really excited to be sharing our meals with you. For more about about me and my family please see the about page.

*Full disclosure: On Wednesday nights my husband Shane is at his studio, so it’s just our daughter Rose and me. We’ve also not eaten together a handful of times for the following reasons: sicknesses and/or hospitalization, a carload of Italians running late, the once or twice a year that Shane and I go out to dinner without Rose and, well, I guess that’s it.