A busy day today, but we managed to get a little accomplished today … Nicholas had a birthday party, we visited a bunch of Open Houses and Nicholas and I started the morning with a trip to the Farmer’s Market in Morristown. We came home with bags and bags of goodies … yellow plums (never seen them before), fresh basil (mmmm, the car smelled insanely good on the ride home), Yukon gold potatoes, fresh blueberry pie that Nicholas picked, Jersey apples (another Nicholas’ choice, he demolished two before we even made it home), juicy tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, pickles and kalamata olives. All for about $20 – not bad, eh? And even better than that, we’re supporting local farmers.
The Neighbors came over for dinner tonight, and I ended up making three new recipes, two of them from Rachael Ray and one from Giada De Laurentiis.
The two Rachael Ray recipes I made were from a recent Tuscan-themed episode of 30 Minute Meals that I caught, appropriately starting with Super Tuscan Burgers.
Even with the addition of fresh sage and red wine, they were just ok. A fine burger, but no real big, noticeable flavor impacts, nothing that made us say, “Wow,” so we won’t be repeating these.
The Warm Potato Salad with Capers and Celery, however, will definitely be making another appearance. To be quite honest, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for this one, since it was fairly simple, and didn’t have any real impactful ingredients, except for the capers. However, it turned out to be quite delicious, with the capers providing a nice salty tang to it. Yum.
The Antipasto Salad from Giada De Laurentiis was nice and easy to make, and Nicholas is already working on his second plate of it, so that’s a good sign. Another plus to both the Antipasto Salad and the Warm Potato Salad is that because neither of the recipes have mayonnaise in them, they are perfect outside Summer dishes, since you won’t have to worry about them sitting in the sun and spoiling.
The Neighbor Husband is getting into this cooking thing himself, digging out his, cough, cough, Sandra Lee cookbook for inspiration. You know things are getting serious when he calls me to tell me they’re going to be a little late because his “croissants haven’t reached the perfect golden brown color yet.” He ended up making Stuffed Cheese Croissant Appetizers, which were alternately stuffed with boursin and cheddar. They were tasty, but he has decided that perhaps Ms. Lee is a little too basic for him. Should be interesting to see what he turns out next week!
Alright folks, all for tonight. On with the Weekend Dog Blogging roundup. Until tomorrow…
Lucky Buddy Bear from Farmgirl Fare rounds up the last sheep before tucking them into bed:
Kahlil from The Urban Agrarian poses with some spigariello (a vegetable I’ve never heard of before … learn something new every day):
Simba from Up a Creek Without a PatL takes in the view:
Ziggy from Soul Fusion Kitchen takes time to settle in for a quick snooze:
The pups from Dispensing Happiness enjoy some outside time (see site for more pictures):
Letta from Something So Clever in Montana is up next — love the tongue!
And lastly, our dear Eli, goofy as ever:
Super Tuscan Burgers and Potato Salad with Capers and Celery
Recipes courtesy Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
2-1/2 pounds small waxy potatoes, quartered or halved, depending on size
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground veal
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 5 to 6 tablespoons, divided
1/2 cup dry Italian red wine, divided
1/4 medium yellow skinned onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons, 5 or 6 sprigs, chopped fresh sage leaves
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Coarse black pepper
1/2 pound cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, sliced
4 crusty rolls, split
8 ounces Pecorino Romano, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1 cup arugula leaves, 1/2 bunch, trimmed of stems
3 tablespoons capers
1 celery heart and greens, from the center of stalk, chopped
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil while you dice potatoes. Add potatoes to boiling water and salt water liberally. Boil potatoes until tender, 12 to15 minutes.
While potatoes cook, prepare burgers. Combine pork and veal in a bowl with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup (eyeball it) red wine, onion, sage, garlic, salt and pepper then form 4 large patties.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Place the burgers into the skillet, leaving a space in the center of the pan to pile in mushrooms. Add sliced mushrooms to the skillet with burgers and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Flip burgers after 6 minutes and toss the mushrooms around as they brown at the center of the skillet. After the mushrooms begin to brown, season them with salt and pepper. The color will be deeper and the mushrooms will remain firmer if you wait for them to brown before salting. Cook burgers 5 minutes on opposite side then remove them from the pan to roll bottoms on a serving plate. Place sliced cheese on burgers, then the hot mushrooms. Cover plate loosely with foil to slightly melt cheese. Add remaining 1/4 cup of wine to skillet and loosen drippings. Dip roll tops in pan drippings to soak them up. Pile arugula on each burger then set roll tops in place.
Drain potatoes and return them to the warm pot to dry them out. Take the pot over to your cutting board and add in capers, celery, onion, lemon zest and juice, red wine vinegar and 3 or 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to pot. Toss to combine the salad, then season the salad with salt and pepper, to your taste. Transfer salad to a serving dish. Potato salad can be served warm or cold.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and leaves chopped (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fusilli pasta
1/2 cup hard salami, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/2 cup smoked turkey, cut into strips (about 3 ounces)
1/4 cup provolone cheese, cut into strips
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
2 tablespoons green olives, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons roasted red peppers, cut into strips
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a blender, add the basil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until the herbs are finely chopped. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing is smooth.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
In a large bowl, toss together the cooked pasta with the remaining salad ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Serve.