Simple Food, Family and Friends

blueberries

Monday:              Cold Cereal with Blueberries

Avocado Toast

Tuesday:              Avocado Toast with Fatoush / Hash with left-over Porterhouse  (make Ricotta)

ratatouille

Wednesday:      Ratatouille / Charred Bread with Cherry Salsa

Thursday:            Dunnings / Pasta with Zucchini Sauce for Beez and Drew

Palominos

Dinner on the terrace at Annie and Denny’s beautiful home.  L-R:  Beez, Dave, Annie, Dennis, Walter, Julie, Bill, Katy, Tim, Shelley.  Ann took the picture.

Friday:                  Cestra Party – Great apps from everybody, Annie’s brisket was killer, Julie’s Cookies and Raspberry Tart

Pizza

Pizza on the porch with Beez and Andrew

Saturday:             Pizza – Margherita / Mushrooms and Sausage / Green Pepper, Onions and Sausage Green Salad

Swordfish

Sunday:                Grilled Swordfish with Wine Bottle Sauce / Charred Sweet Potatoes with Honey / Green Salad – App of cheese, chutney, crackers, toasts

Grilled Chicken

Monday:              Family Cook Out – Grilled Chicken with cracked olives and herbs / Toasted Bread with Ricotta and fixings and Cherry Salsa / Corn Salad / Cole Slaw /Chocolate-Almond Semifreddo

billy and emily

Billy and Emily

I’m back on my favorite subject – the nexus between family, friends and food.  This long holiday weekend gave us a chance to catch up with a lot of people and eat a lot of good food.  On Friday, heading into the holiday weekend, Annie Cestra served amazing food and Dennis plied a mighty drinks table.  To quote my son, Andrew, on Annie’s leftover brisket (“that’s one of the best thing I’ve ever tasted”).  And Julie Stoecklein added a strawberry tart and cookies that are at least as addictive as opioids.  The occasion was a celebration of the Pink Palominos trip to Walter and Shelley Stoecklein’s ranch in Idaho – and Walter and Shelley were in town for the occasion.  Julie had put together a video memory of the trip and Walter told some fishing stories that sounded true – and nobody left until after midnight.

Then on Sunday we shared a simple dinner with Andrew, Billy and Marc Pugliese.  To my thinking, this dinner was perfect and as addictive as Julie’s cookies.  We rarely repeat a “Keeper” on the blog, but this is a meal you need when you want to cook, eat and talk till all hours outdoors.

And on Monday we had a gang for a real feast of grilled chicken with 34 bottles of beer, 7 bottles of wine, Glenlivet, Hendrick’s Gin and Calvados.  We’re still cleaning up, and moving rather slowly.

And hey – don’t knock the cold cereal I had while Barbara was away on business.  The blueberries were huge, firmly plump and had that combination of sweetness and tartness which makes for a perfect berry.  A little cold milk and some Special K were all they needed to provide a quick, delicious dinner.  You don’t have to chop onions and garlic every night, amigo.

A Simple Grilled Dinner to Amaze Family and Friends:

Swordfish

Swordfish with Wine-bottle Sauce and Grilled Sweet Potatoes

There are two keys to this meal – the wine bottle sauce provides the savory underpinning that will ensure that you have no leftover swordfish – and the grilled sweet potatoes will change every one’s mind about this tuber which is usually forgotten after Thanksgiving.

You can cook the swordfish in about 16 minutes – there is almost no prep.  And you can use swordfish from your local market – no need for a special trip to the fishmonger.

You can grill the potatoes in 5 minutes, provided you have cooked them to just-tender earlier in the day.

Add a green salad with a simple dressing of oil and lemon and maybe some blueberries or tomatoes thrown in, and you have a meal so easy to cook that you will be able to hang with your guests most of the night.

swordfish only

SWORDFISH WITH WINE-BOTTLE SAUCE (Very slightly adapted from Joe Carroll’s recipe in his great cookbook, Feeding the Fire – I have added an early flip in the cooking process to avoid the wine-bottle sauce washing away the seasoning) 

Timing:                                 15 minutes (plus the time it takes to start the coals and get your grill hot – and the hour or so it will take to pre-cook the sweet potatoes.

Ingredients:                                                       (Feeds 4 or 5)

2 Swordfish Steaks

Wine-bottle-sauce (Drink 12 to 2/3 of a bottle of dry white wine – add a good glug of olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon and shake to mix – shake again before pouring over the fish)

Salt and Pepper

Cooking:

Season the swordfish on both sides, liberally, with kosher salt and ground black pepper

Get your grill grates hot and brush and clean with olive oil

Cook over medium-high heat for a total of 8 minutes.  Turn after 1 minute and douse with wine-bottle sauce.  Turn after the 2nd minute and douse with wine bottle sauce.  Then turn again and cook for 4 minutes – douse again.  Turn and cook for another 4 minutes – douse again.  Dinner is served.

Meanwhile, if you’re game for the sweet potatoes, here they are:

sweet potatoes

GRILLED SWEET POTATOES (Adapted from “Charred Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Olive Oil” – bon appétit, July, 2017) 

Timing:                                 1 hour and 6 minutes

Ingredients:                       Feeds 4 – but if you have sweet potato lovers coming over, buy 4 potatoes  (Recipe easily doubles, triples, etc.)

2 sweet potatoes
Olive Oil
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Kosher Salt, Ground Black Pepper
Flaky sea salt for finishing

Prep:

Cook potatoes in a 350 F oven for about one hour – or until just tender.  You can set aside for several hours at this point – you will need to wait at least 10 minutes or so until you can handle the potatoes to proceed.

Bring honey, vinegar and a large pinch of kosher salt to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat and simmer about 4 minutes until it begins to thicken.  Keep warm or rewarm before using.

Cook:

Cut the potatoes in half.

Rub the cut sides with 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil – this is so they don’t stick to the grill – and season with salt.

Grill for 5 minutes – cut-side down – until slightly charred.

Transfer to a platter and brush with the honey glaze, then drizzle some more glaze and a little olive oil over the top.

Season with pepper and flaky sea salt.

Enjoy – if you don’t like sweet potatoes done this way, you must have been traumatized by your family during some long-ago Thanksgiving dinner.

horse doovers

Anchovy Toasts and Melon with toasted Prosciutto and Basil

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s