My Technicolor Weekend

5 Jul

When the NYSE throws a four day weekend your way, it behooves oneself to enjoy it thoroughly! (Yes, I do realise that the weekend was supposed to be about patriotism and revolution and stuff, but, if the exchange’s board members hadn’t decided to close early on Monday, I would have been at my desk and quite cranky).

So, did we enjoy ourselves? Oh yes! Walks were taken despite the horrific heat and humidity. Football was watched. Shopping was done. Relatives were entertained. And of course, food was consumed.

Backyard Barbecue In Brooklyn.

Bison sausages. Jalapeno sauerkraut. Goodies from the new Fairway. Little neck clams. Delicious dill & fennel slaw. Cheese (natch). Grilled baby carrots and a savory cherry salad (recipe below). It was a feast fit for a hungry clan, not just the four of us, but through our valiant efforts I feel we came out victorious over the delectable dishes. And I think we made another bevanda (or whatever you want to call it) convert, too.

Sunday’s Simple Salad.

I woke up on Sunday craving tacos. Not just any tacos, my very favorite tacos in the whole world. But alas, they are gone. They used to reside on 5th Ave. in Brooklyn between 10th & 11th streets at the back of a wedding cake shop, but, no longer. I am very sad. So, to cheer myself up I romped through Target and cruised the Tompkin’s Square Green Market. Happily squashes are back in force as are funny, tender little root vegetables. Ain’t summer grand? Despite the heat the squash needed to be grilled. My grill pan made the apartment hot and a little smokey, but the results were undeniably, deliciously perfect. This is a must-try recipe (find it below the jump).

Hosting Made Simple.

Thankfully, my second trip to Brooklyn for a remembered culinary craving went better than the previous days. The Vietnamese joint was right where I remembered it in Bay Ridge and the fried squid with garlic sauce was just as insanely good. And then, just to make the day even better, we went out for tacos! The boys sister #2 was in town for a visit. We needed to feed her, but the apartment is waaaay too small for four people to eat in, so, we settled upon serving dessert at home only, and not just any dessert, ricotta gelato from a local favorite, il Laboratori del Gelato! The things I learned from this experience are: Mercadito should have more offerings with huitlacoche on their menu, rosé doesn’t pair very well with cheese ice cream, and four people is the absolute MAX my apartment should ever hold!

Chillin’ On The Fourth

With grilling out of the way, entertaining out of the way and serious recipe crafting out of the way, there was nothing left to do on the Fourth but relax. We had an invitation to head over to Red Hook for a party, but, after three straight days of traveling to the County of Kings, it was time to keep it local and low key. Cheese from our new favorite cheese joint and a very low key take on one of my favorite dishes in the whole world: choucroute. I took some of the jalapeno sauerkraut, placed it in a pot and put some of the leftover bison keilbasa on top, put the lid on, set the flame to super low and let it all steam and blend for about 30 minutes. It was delicious, easy as pie and all American (well, except for the bottle of South African rosé… oops!) After dinner we ambled down Houston, found a decent place to watch the fireworks, oohed, aahed, then headed home to contemplate the end of a very good weekend.

I hope it was excellent for all of you too!

Head below the jump for some very simple summer salads.

Summer’s Savory Cherry Salad

prep time: 30 minutes ~ cooking time: none!

Cook’s note: This, like my Summer’s First Salad, is intended mainly as a guideline. Salads are simple, fun and malleable. Please play around with the proportions, ingredients, and well, everything. Make it your own and then let me know. This salad was intended as a play on another salad, a classic that involves watermelon, feta and onions. Play and have fun!

  • Cherries, pitted
  • Walla Walla Onions (or any other sweet onion) minced fine
  • Mini, wee perlina Mozzarella from Trader Joes (smaller than bocconcini, and about 1,000 times cuter!)
  • Mint cut into a fine chiffonade
  • Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pomegranate Vinegar (or another sweet meets sour fruit vinegar)
  • Dry Mustard

Place the pitted cherries in a bowl, add the minced onions. Mix. Add the mini-mozzas. Mix. Add the mint. Season with pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Make your dressing to taste. Start with the olive oil, add some walnut oil, a dash of dry mustard. Add a dash of balsamic and a glug of your favorite fruit vinegar. Blend. Taste. Adjust. Do you want more sweet? (add some brown sugar). More sour? (add more vinegar). More smooth? (add more olive oil). More earthy? (add more walnut oil).

Trust your taste buds! When you’re happy with your dressing, add to the salad and stir to coate. Chill in the fridge until dinner. Serve over a bed of spicy, peppery greens.


Summer Sunday Simple Salad

prep tie: 1 hour 30 minutes ~ cooking time: 10 minutes

Cook’s Note: This salad will be vastly easier to make if you have a grill. But do not despair if, like me, you have a minuscule apartment. The heat kicked up from grilling the squash is easily dissipated by even the smallest AC.

  • Young or baby Squash (I used Yellow Zucchini, 8-Ball Zucchini, Summer Squash and Pattypan), sliced into manageable, but bite sized pieces
  • 4 cloves Garlic, very, very finely minced
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 head Raddichio finely shredded
  • a handful of sweet, young raw Turnips, finely sliced
  • a handful of yellow Polish Radishes, finely sliced (or whatever radishes tickle your palate)
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • handful of wee baby Basil (or regular Basil roughly torn)

Slice the turnip and radish, place in a bowl and put back in the fridge.

Grill the squash in whatever manner is convenient. Grill the first pieces thoroughly, and with each batch, get a little less thorough. The squash are going to keep cooking themselves, and you don’t want them to turn into mush. About halfway through, add the garlic and a little glug of olive oil. Mix. Keep grilling and adding, grilling and adding, mixing. When all the squash are grilled, add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Add the raddichio and mix while the squash are still warm.

Set aside and allow the flavors to mingle for at least 30 minutes. More is better.

Just before serving, add the turnip, radishes and basil. Mix. Taste. Does it need more acid? Add a splash of vinegar. Mix, taste, adjust salt, add pepper if you like. Serve on a plate with a glug of your very, very best extra virgin olive oil (just to gild the lily) and enjoy!


4 Responses to “My Technicolor Weekend”

  1. sher July 5, 2006 at 9:34 am #

    Sounds like a great holiday celebration!! Can’t wait for the recipes–but I will, of course. :):)

  2. lobstersquad July 5, 2006 at 10:22 am #

    I love that tea mug!

  3. ann July 5, 2006 at 12:43 pm #

    heh, i have another one in solid white too… those are my bitty baby basils in there (it’s hard to tell)… lobstersquad, if you ever come to nyc, you can get them at broadway panhandler

  4. Julie July 6, 2006 at 6:22 pm #

    Can I tell you how jealous I am of you being able to rush off to Brooklyn and elsewhere for all manner of good food? Crispy squid, tacos, gelato — stop! You’re killing me here.

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