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Monday: Caesar’s Salad with Bacon and Blue Cheese –
Tuesday: Spanish Slow-Roasted Chicken, Caesar Salad,Bruschettas with Sauteed Chard
Wednesday: Bruschettas with Sauteed Chard, Wild Mushroom and Farro Soup
Thursday: Dunnings Gathering at The Mansions on Fifth
Friday: Dinner at The Hartwood
Bruschetta with Sauteed Chard, Oysters with Jalapeno-Herb Mignonette
Provencal Fish Stew
Roasted Chicken with Mushrooms
Dessert – Hilda
Brunch Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches
Dinner Left-over Fisherman’s Stew – Baguette with Sriracha Aioli
Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The rules or the game? The food or the fellowship? Beats me. I tend to experience things on the run, in a complex mix that tumbles friendship, business, entertainment, dish-washing, conversation, eating and drinking together. If the crowd is amenable it produces a memorable weekend, like the one we just had.
Our good friends, Dick Greenbaum and Hilary Spence, journeyed north from the land of pleasant living (Easton, Maryland) to visit with Tim and Anne and Barbara and myself.
Bill, Ann (Hilda), Tim, Hilary, Dick
On Friday, Tim was our gracious host for round of golf at the Field Club where Dick and Hilly shined and Tim showed his increasing skill and Bill played more or less according to form (regrettably). We had an enjoyable dinner at The Hartwood, came back to Chez Stewart and played music and sipped Gin and Scotch (Dick and Bill, not Hilly and Barbara) before turning in.
On Saturday, Tim, Hilly and Dick headed out for a tour of the new facilities at Oakmont and then on to a bracing round of golf at Kitanning Country Club in the rain and the wind – while Bill received injections of cortisone, human growth factor, and intravenous doses of Laphroig and The Balvenie which revived him to the point that he could hold a knife and help Beez prepare dinner for the over-exposed golfers. Hilda brought desert, Tim brought some great wine, and Billy brought himself for a raucous evening of food, drink, political (Bill will have to be muzzled next time) and other discussions. But what about the food, you are asking? Hold on, I’m getting to that. (Whose blog is this, after all?)
Dick and Hilly are the least demanding of guests (as are Hilda and Tim) – but we wanted to put our best foot forward and show that we knew the difference between a bagel and a baguette. We had planned a grand, modified surf-and-turf cook-out with grilled tuna and shrimp and vegetables and a grilled chicken for meat-and-potatoes Slavish* – but the weather would not cooperate. So we moved the dinner indoors, amended the menu and, in spite of a slight game-time delay, had ourselves a royal feast with good friends and our son, Billy.
*Tim is otherwise a sophisticate – definitely not a meat-and-potatoes dresser – and has become our go-to sommelier. He has been called a metrosexual by some – we prefer to refer to him as the natty dresser from Lewistown.
The Provençal Fisherman’s Stew which we substituted for grilled seafood is a visual stunner of a dish and simple to prepare and you can get the recipe below or from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead cookbook.* As an extra, just below the stew recipe, we’ve tossed in the best Caesar salad ever conceived (also from Ina). Invite your family and friends over and enjoy. Note: A great bouillabaisse takes much longer than this dish. But by using a good fish stock and mussels you can approach the pungency of the broth which makes a good bouillabaisse.
*You will want to amend Ina’s recipe for Sriracha Aioli which must involve a misprint. If you follow the recipe you will get a soupy, though tasty, sauce that will work in the stew, but will not stand up to being spread on croutons. Simply substitute a whole egg for the yolk only called for in the book.
Provençal Fisherman’s Stew (Ina Garten)
Time: 90 minutes – You can do everything ahead and heat up and finish in 15 minutes
Serves: More than the 6 the recipe suggests. We had 7 for dinner and plenty left over for dinner for 3 the next evening.
1 Teaspoon Saffron threads
1 Cup White Wine
2 Tablespoons Pernod
3 Cups Good Seafood Stock (you may mix in clam stock)
1 ½ pounds fresh cod fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 ½ pounds fresh halibut or monkfish fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
36 fresh mussels
6 Tablspoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 ½ Cups)
1 large Fennel bulb, ½-inch dice (2 ½ Cups)
1 large Yellow Bell Pepper, 3/4-inch diced (1 ½ Cups)
Pinch red pepper flakes
4 oil-packed anchovies, drained and minced
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
3 oranges (3 inch strip of zest from one – juice from three (3/4 Cup)
¼ Cup minced parsley
Kosher Salt and Pepper
12 diagonal slices of French Bread, toasted
Sriracha Rouille (recipe below)
Chop onion, yellow pepper, fennel and measure red pepper flakes and saffron
Mince anchovies and garlic together
Measure wine and add Pernod to wine.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium. When hot add onion, yellow pepper, fennel, saffron and red pepper flake and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until vegetables softened.
Add anchovies and garlic and cook for one minute, stirring.
Add wine and Pernod, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
Add seafood stock, tomatoes, orange zest, orange juice, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(If cooking ahead, hold at room temperature
or cool and refrigerate for up to a week)
Stir in fish and raise heat and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes (until fish just begins to flake. (Don’t stir any more or you will break up the fish)
Add mussels, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. (Discard any mussels that don’t open).
Fold in chopped parsley and serve hot in large bowls with 2 slices of toasted baguette slathered with Sriracha Rouille.
Note: Put sliced baguette into oven to toast as fish and mussels are cooking
(I have modified this recipe – Ina’s book calls for egg yolk only and that will not give enough body to the Rouille – trust me, I’ve tried twice and ended up with a Rouille so thin that you could swim in it.)
¾ Tablespoon of minced garlic (Ina recommends a full Tablespoon)
Teaspoon kosher salt
½ Teaspoon Saffron threads
1 Extra-Large Egg (Ina recommends 1 Extra-large egg yolk at room temp.)
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh Lemon juice
1 Teaspoon Sriracha
1 Cup good olive oil (don’t skimp on this quantity)
Puree garlic, salt and saffron in a food processor.
Add the egg, lemon juice and Sriracha and process about 5 seconds.
With machine running, pour olive oil through feed tube in a thin, steady stream to create a rich emulsion (like mayonnaise).
You can make ahead and refrigerate up to one week.
EXTRA Caesar Salad with Blue Cheese and Bacon (Ina Garten – Make It Ahead)
6 thick-cut slices your favorite bacon
6 Extra-large eggs
12 diagonally cut slices of baguette
Garlic clove cut in half
1 pound hearts of Romaine
8 ounces Roquefort cheese, sliced
Caesar Salad Dressing (recipe below)
Good Olive Oil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook: Preheat oven to 375
Cook bacon in oven for 25-30 minutes until browned, then transfer to paper towel lined plate. (We cook bacon at 425 for about 10 minutes )
Meanwhile, put eggs in medium saucepan and cover with tap water by one inch, then bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and simmer for exactly 4 minutes. Drain and put the eggs in cold water for 10 minutes, then peel. (You will have
a perfectly cooked, slightly hard-boiled egg, if you follow these directions)
Arrange the bread on a sheet pan and toast with the bacon for 8-10 minutes if at 375, for about 5 minutes at 425. At this point, Ina suggests rubbing the bread
with the cut-side of a garlic clove (that’s too much garlic for Beez, so we don’t)
Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Arrange single leaves of the lettuce, bacon, soft-boiled eggs, and Roquefort attractively on plates. Drizzle with the dressing and add the toasts. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.
Caesar Salad Dressing:
Prepare or gather:
1 large egg yolk at room temperature (leave egg out for 1 or more hours before
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon chopped garlic (Ina recommends 2 Teaspoons)
8-10 Anchovy fillets
½ Cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 ½ Cups Good Olive Oil
½ Cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher and freshly ground black pepper
Place egg yolk, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a food processor and process until smooth. With machine running, slowly pour the olive oil through feed tube and process until thick. Add grated cheese and pulse to combine.