May 20 – May 26, 2019
Monday: Curried Rice with Frisée
I think Billy may have a picture of this really good taco with the crispiest diced potatoes you can imagine, but I do not.
Tuesday: Green Chorizo and Potato Tacos
Thursday: Beez manning the stove – I came home, exhausted from having wrestled with the Pennsylvania Turnpike for, at a guess, the 3,485th time in my life to this delicious dinner of salmon with dill sauce, broiled tomatoes and perfectly cooked asparagus.
Friday: Green Bean Salad with Potatoes, Capers and Eggs
Saturday: Dinner at the Cornerstone – Excellent Lamb Burgers
Sunday: Linda’s Salmon Spread, Fountainbleu Cheese with Endive and Radishes / Barbecued Ribs and Chicken Salmoriglio / Broccoli Salad / Barbecued Baked Beans / Cookies and Pastries provided by Eleanor Wren and Sylvie
As you can see above, we had a family gathering to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend. The evening was great because of Linda and John, and Greg and Kellie and Mike, and Kara and Pete, and Beez and Rusty, and above all, because of the presence of Pete and Kara’s children, Eleanor Wren and her younger sister, Sylvie. Here are their shoes, which they politely removed upon entering the house. (It had been raining)
“May I pet him?,” Sylvie asked about Rusty. Not only could Rusty be petted, he very much enjoyed the experience. As for the delightfully direct Eleanor Wren, her comment, “I remember you,” coming from an adult guest would be condescending. But coming from Eleanor Wren, it actually makes you feel that you have accomplished something.
If you need to have your culinary ego deflated – I certainly do, if I ever wish to get to heaven – invite two little girls (or boys) to dinner. There will be no praise for your home-made barbecue sauce, or your sweet-and-smoky beans, or your grilled lemon chicken. And they had much better things to do than to sample the appetizers,* like climbing on chairs and hassocks and playing single notes on the piano. Little girls, it turns out, are like little boys in their devotion to non-stop physical activity and excitement. But they are softer-spoken, much more polite, a lot cleaner, and, in general, pretty much the angels they are depicted as being.
*Linda’s salmon spread was great, as even Eleanor Wren and Sylvia will come to realize some day. And hey Linda, it was spectacular on toast for breakfast the next morning.
As for the food, the two little girls were focused only on the pastries which Pete and Kara had brought from Prantl’s Bakery. (Prantl’s, located in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, is the go-to for us city-dwellers for all things baked. Their burnt-almond torte is the birthday cake of choice for, roughly, 66% of city residents.)
In spite of the sweet dose of reality that Eleanor and Sylvie brought to the party, we can’t tell you how to make cookies like Prantl’s. But, after all, this being a food blog, we do have to come up with at least one outstanding dish from the week that we’d like to share with you. And the unanimous winner was a great side dish that I had nothing to do with: Beez’s broccoli salad.
This dish is nothing like those ranch dressing and cheese bombs you may have run into in the past. This is a light, broccoli forward dish that will make you feel healthy and well fed at the same time. It’s got crunch, a light, but creamy dressing, little jolts of sweetness from the cranberries and smokiness from the nuts, and, if you’d been here for the cookout, you would have had the added advantage of not having to make the darn thing yourself. So ,the next time we invite you to a cookout, come over. Please excuse the photo – and the lack of photos above – we’re having trouble with our internet.
(Adapted from Hilda’s Broccoli salad which was adapted from a recipe on Smitten Kitchen whence it came via the blogger’s family and something called ‘Apartment Therapy’. In those iterations, it is called broccoli slaw, but Beez decided to cut the broccoli into larger pieces and make a salad)
Timing: Maybe 10 minutes of chopping and mixing
Ingredients: Makes enough to feed 8-9
2 heads of broccoli
1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
For the dressing:
1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (or, you could just use a little extra red onion to simplify it)
Putting it all together:
Trim broccoli and cut it into small, bite-sized pieces. (Note: you can use the stems, if you trim them down to the light green centers.)
Toss the sliced broccoli with the almonds, cranberries and red onion in a large bowl.
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a smaller bowl, with a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and toss it well. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Will keep in the fridge for at least a week – but trust me, you’ll finish it off way before then.