Why is it 48 degrees outside?  Today, I find myself daydreaming about summer suppers.  Catching blue crabs, cooking with friends, tomato pies, skillet corn, chilled rose’; long drawn out suppers.  Relaxing, languid evenings that make me look forward to the most unbearable humidity and heat.  Summer- I am ready!

Advertisements

For me, pasta carbonara is the coziest of pasta dishes. So comforting and friendly, it’s the food equivalent of cuddling up on the couch with your favorite throw, listening to your favorite tunes, with a glass of your favorite vino.  And if you happen to be so lucky, sharing it with your favorite person.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4cup EVOO
  • Bacon(6 to 8 slices), slices halved length-wise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inches
  • 1/2cup dry white wine
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2ounces Parmesan, finely grated (3/4 cup)
  • 3/4ounces Pecorino Romano, finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1pound spaghetti

Instructions:

1. Beat eggs, cheeses and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.

2. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in stockpot.

3. Heat oil in braiser over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking.  Add bacon and cook, about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced, 6-8 minutes. remove from heat.

4. When water comes to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon table salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet.

5. Transfer drained pasta to braiser. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes; toss well to combine.

6. Season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

A dining moment: The first time I had Michelle Bernstein’s gazpacho at Michy’s in Miami.  Unlike any gazpacho I had ever tasted, I never could have guessed its unique blend of ingredients.   Which is why I was so happy to eventually find the recipe on the web.   Incredibly simple to make, as no cooking is required, just a blender- it makes for a great first course when entertaining.  The Marcona almonds are completely lush and special, while the cucumbers and grapes add a lightness and spritz.  I love, love, love this dish- as much for its taste as its uniqueness.  Serve it at dinner party, it won’t go unnoticed.

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ cup Spanish Marcona almonds (salted)
½ teaspoon fresh, peeled garlic
½ tablespoon peeled shallot
2 cups cucumbers, (English, if available), peeled and chopped
2 cups seedless green grapes
1-tablespoon fresh dill
1 ½ cups cold vegetable broth
½ cup excellent quality extra virgin olive oil
1-tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons dry sherry wine
Salt and Black pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

1. In a blender, add the almonds, garlic, shallot, cucumber, grapes, dill and broth and puree until very smooth.

2. While blender is running, add the vinegar, sherry wine, and drizzle in the olive oil.

3. Place finished soup in the cooler until chilled.

4. Serve with a garnish of sliced grapes, crushed almonds and dill.

It’s summer and it’s HOT.  Things I love about this: lots of pool time, and lots of tomatoes.  Since one can’t survive on tomato and white bread sandwiches alone (well, I mean, MAYBE…), I looked in the fridge to see what else could mingle with the fresh tomatoes just given to me by my neighbor (thank you Palmer!).  Inspired by the delicious Greek Salad from the newly opened neighborhood spot, Leaf, I set out to make a similar version for my Monday night.

The verdict?  Refreshing and flavorful.  Best enjoyed on a hot summer night, paired with a crisp Rose and a Striped Bikini.

Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken:

  • Grilled chicken breasts (marinate in olive oil, oregano, garlic, S&P; grill; drizzle with lemon juice; then chop and mix into salad)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced English cucumber
  • Sliced and crumbled Feta cheese
  • Pitted kalamata olives
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Chopped Iceburg lettuce
  • Boston lettuce

Greek Dressing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey
  • Oregano
  • Chopped Italian Parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • S&P

When it comes to sexiness, life’s just not fair.  Even for veggies.  There are those that simply just have “it” and those that simply don’t.  You either are or you ain’t.  And Broccoli just ain’t.  But Broccoli Rabe– now he’s sexy.  A bit of a mystery at first, you gotta figure him out; play with him a little.  But once you do and you get him right- you’ll be craving for more.  A little peppery, a tad feisty, he gives a good bite.  Whether served on the side, married in with the main course, or just used as a topping, he’s worth the flirt.

Simply sauteed with garlic, olive oil and red pepper.

Blanch in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.

Heat olive oil and garlic. Add Broccoli Rabe and saute for about 5 minutes.

Season with Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper.

Great as a side, mixed in with pasta and pecorino, or chopped up for a pizza topping.

I’m not so into celebrity.  I never get star struck (well, there was the one Sting incident…)… BUT, Gwyneth… Ah, Gwynnie. She gets my attention.  Always.  She gets me. 100%.  And I get her. We’re just sympatico like that.  I call her Gwynnie, and I get that she would be annoyed that some rando affectionately refers to her as such.  But regardless, I L.O.V.E.

So, upon reading this month’s Food & Wine featuring recipes from her upcoming cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, I immediately bought some fresh zucchini, poured a glass of vino and turned up the Coldplay.

The results? Delicate zucchini delights marry perfectly with the confident pasta, rounded out with pleasing bursts of basil, lemon and pecorino.

Thank you gp!  HIT IT!

Ingredients

1 pound small zucchini, very thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound spaghetti
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the flour and a pinch of salt. In a very large skillet, heat half of the oil until shimmering. Add half of the zucchini and fry over high heat, turning once or twice, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini to a paper towel–lined wire rack and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining oil and zucchini.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the 1 cup of cheese, the basil and a generous pinch of pepper. Add the reserved pasta water a little at a time, tossing well to coat. Transfer the pasta to a bowl and top with the crispy zucchini. Serve right away with lemon wedges and additional cheese.

Over the moon about my new Shun knives (especially since I met with the designer and received a personal chopping tutorial).  So sharp, so quick, such ease.  They have changed my life.  Just another example of how the proper tools make all the difference in the kitchen.  All I want to do now is…. CHOP.  I rarely make salads as a main course for dinner, but as I’ve been so jazzed about chopping I was lured by the following recipe (adapted from GOOP) where basically all the ingredients require a knife takedown.  Salad was deliciously fresh, clean, simple.  And the chopping? 100% Shuntastic.

Lee Gross’ Vietnamese Salad for GOOP:

http://goop.com/newsletter/66/en/

  • 4 large bok choy leaves, rough bottoms discarded, stems cut into ¼” bias and leaves shredded
  • 4 big leaves Napa cabbage, shredded
  • 1 bunch watercress (discard thick stems), roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • the leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ small cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 red Thai chili thinly sliced
  • ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • grilled shrimp (chopped)

Vietnamese Dressing

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sesame oil
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallot