Ahhhh, yes. The 6 week break from writing one's blog. What can I say? It was summer, I was sweating, and frankly, trying to write a book and be funny and then turning around and writing a blog (and being funny) is just a little more writing:funny ratio than I can handle. I think I am home alone too much. It is a terrible adjustment for a 40 year old, social woman to suddenly be home alone all day-- truly!!
I will say that for all of my dear husband's prodding (gentle!!) it was the voice of my father, (the voice that my husband imitates to perfection) that jolted me out of blog fog. I seem to remember that voice yelling at me to do shit I didn't have any intention of doing for much of my earlier life. He (my dad) called me last night, as I was shopping for mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls and wine(!!) and after he asked how we were, wanted to know what happened to my blog. Turns out he is one of my 4 loyal everyday readers and I have been letting him down for the past 6 weeks! Who knew?
So... I am back. I will write. Even if it is not funny I will close my eyes and push the "publish" button. Fuck it. The next few posts will move backwards through the summer so you can see what you missed when you were on your vacation to fabulous far flung places, or "stay-cation" to your air conditioned living room. Either way, if I didn't see you in my backyard, I missed you. Fix that, will ya?
Behold, the lamb kabobs.
This was one of those smaller dinners on a Wednesday night, so Karl was unavailable to take pictures. Hey-- someone has gotta work around here! These are the pics I remembered to take at the very end, which is why the vegetables look a little wilted in the next pic.
We started with some Moroccan eggplant dip that I got from Gourmet mag, improbably with sugar in it!! that was delicious. Truth be told, I had made it 3 days earlier and it was even better on the 3rd day. Charred eggplant, scooped out and mashed up with sugar, salt, red wine vinegar, parsley, olive oil.... Hot pita torn into pieces accompanied. Excellent. Also, my all time favorite standby, radishes with butter and salt. Nothing simpler, nothing better.
There was bitter dandy salad with sauce gribiche and lardons (BACON!!!) that was fucking great, if I do say so myself. I made the gribiche with hellman's mayo, sour cream, greek yogurt, lemon juice, chopped tarragon, chopped parsley, capers, and hardboiled egg scattered about. The fat makes the bitter dandies palatable, and people plowed right through it all. I forgot to mention to them that those bitter dandys act as "nature's broom", as my friend Millicent so often says to my delight; I guess they were cursing my name the next day.
There was lima bean puree made with fresh limas. What a pain in the ass!!! Seriously. Fucking hateful. But.... really really good. limas pureed with olive oil, garlic, chili flake and just a tad bit of sherry vinegar. It was served with the lamb kabobs, which had been marinated all day with rosemary, oregano, garlic, thyme, and a little olive oil. They were grilled on the gas grill -- ( i know-- but it is hard to be a bad ass when you are alone!!) and served with salsa verde Italian style: mint, basil, parsley, anchovies, capers, lemon and olive oil in the cuisinart. I highly recommend it. And of course, a little extra special greek feta --Arahova-- from The Greek House on 30th ave.
And below... behold my masterpiece. Simple, yet something I want to eat every single day. Blanch green and/or wax beans, little potatoes and zucchini. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, and chop up some radicchio. Make anchovy butter. Combine and toss. Serve. Seriously, I could NOT get enough of this-- so much so that the next day, I put the leftovers in a skillet with some shell on shrimp, heated the whole thing and ate that too!!!! Outrageous so easy and so good for you, and so... did I say it?? Fucking Delicious. Take that, Rachel Ray. (I wonder if our publicist will be able to get us on her show, and, if so, will I have to sign something promising not to cuss? Hope not...)
And below, my other masterpiece. Rustic, yes.... but oh so excellent. Fresh figs tossed with sugar, and tossed into a pastry crust made with both all purpose flour AND pastry flour and european butter. Parmesean cream rounds it out. It is sweet, and sharp, and that terribly seductive taste of figs..... all together. AND... you don't have to roll the crust because it is a crostata!! Even better! I got the recipe in 2004 from the NY Times..... I bust it out every couple of years when the figs are worth it.
12 people, on a Wednesday night. What could be nicer? A couple of high powered cook friends showed up early and volunteered to help-- I eagerly took it. Thanks Ian and Michelli!! We drank and ate and laughed too much, as it should be. We came up with genius ideas....Don't learn to cook, Bra strap!!
And tomorrow I will post again, I promise, Dad.