February 28 – March 6, 2022
Note: Below the recipe find a photography of Marj’s granddaughter, Mallory and precious great granddaughter, Alida. Reminder: we like pictures of babies (above all) and, just behind that of dogs. As all bloggers and journalists know, babies and dogs sell. Feel free to share.
Monday: Weeknight Bolognese (Ina Garten)
Tuesday: Sausage Escarole Soup with Parmesan Bread (Ruhlman)
Wednesday: Feta Panzanella with Oregano Dressing / Merguez Sliders
Friday: Baked Cod with Herbed Crust and Lemons
Sunday: Jeffrey’s Roast Chicken with Rice Pilaf and Creamy Feta Panzanella with Oregano Dressing
Note: Below the recipe you will find a picture of Marj’s grandaughter
Salad Days (and, in Pittsburgh, snow)
I have been promising, for several weeks, to move on to lighter spring fare. But the weather in Pittsburgh has not cooperated and so we have had the cook and scullery maids baking and frying beef, pork and poultry, fortified by winter vegetables, mulled wine and savory puddings. . . sorry, I’ve been reading historical novels in the last week.
So last Sunday, I was planning a much lighter dinner, and then it got cold and snowed again. Still, a promise is a promise. If you wish to join us, build a good blaze in the fireplace, wrap yourself in a bearskin and serve this week’s recipe with a nice glass of white wine and you won’t even need to turn on the oven – but if you’re in Pittsburgh, you might want to, just to help the house warm up.
All (well, most) kidding aside, the salad we’re going to offer you is on beyond substantial, involving croutons, feta cheese, tomatoes, oregano and other seasonings, and the wonderfully meaty, slightly bitter lettuce known as escarole.
Confessions of a meat eater: While I like salads, I generally don’t think of them as stand-alone meals. I am aware that this will tarnish my reputation among ectomorphs, ascetic monks and runway models, but I console myself with the wisdom of a modern American philosopher: “You don’t win friends with salad.” – Homer Simpson.
Note: We’ll be in sunny Naples next week and get another blog out early the following week. And. . . last night we got 5 more inches of snow. Perfect time to head south.
Creamy Feta Panzanella with Oregano Dressing
(Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli, The Home Cook
Timing: 15 minutes
Ingredients: Serves 4 -6
Loaf of sourdough bread, cut into ¾” cubes (Alex cuts the bread into 1 ½” cubes – a bit large for our taste)
8 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (use a French feta, if you can find it – it’s creamier, less astringent)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium head of escarole
Leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh dill (Alex means the little fans of dill that branch off from the stem)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350 F
Remove leaves from the head of escarole and rinse under cold water – drain and pat dry with paper towels, then tear escarole into bite-sized pieces
Cube the sourdough
Halve the tomatoes and season with 1 tablespoon of salt
Assemble the other ingredients
Toast the croutons:
Toss the bread cubes with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake until golden brown – about 9 minutes
Make the dressing:
In a large salad bowl mix the cheese, vinegar, red pepper flakes, oregano and 5 tablespoons (we used 4) of olive oil.
Mix in the tomatoes.
Assemble the Salad:
Toss the warm bread cubes, escarole and dill leaves with the dressing and tomatoes. Correct seasoning.