Hello friends! Yes, I'm still here, still cooking, despite falling way behind on taking pics and posting. Like everyone, we are in full summer mode and that has meant non-stop entertaining and dining out, whew. Funny thing, you'd think that since I step up my cooking game for guests that I'd have more to write about, but lately it just hasn't panned (pun!) out.
Whirlwind overview of recent tasties, I hope it inspires a fun night out or some barbecue fun at home:
Last Thursday night, John and I broke out of our usual groove and headed over to Bradstreet Craftshouse, in the Graves 601 Hotel, for the finest drinks in the Twin Cities. We had some nice food too - mini burgers, marinated vegetables - but Bradstreet is all about the drinks, highly crafted and beyond delicious. I particularly loved the Juliet & Romeo (Plymouth gin, lime, mint, cucumber, rose water), refreshing with just a hint of sweet, perfect on a 90-degree day, ahhhh.
Last Friday night, we were invited to a Farewell to D'Amico Cucina (at least in Butler Square) Dinner with Debbie and Stu The Wine Genius Williams and Genie & Joe Dixon (as well as Genie & Joe's daughter-in-law and son, Twyla and Joe Jr.). Lord what a feast, completely immoderate, ah well. I (over) indulged in seared foie gras with fresh figs (badly pictured above) and the most seriously kill single ravioli I have ever encountered. Filled with smooth-creamy ricotta, and a whole egg, I cut into it to spill cheese and yolk into the browned truffle butter drizzled at the edges of the plate. Oh yes, beyond decadent, luckily small portions, I won't say more, uff, except it appears the D'Amico Cucina team will soon be taking over the Chambers Kitchen. When one door closes, another opens...
Saturday, we...golfed. Yes, golfed! I just started playing, oh about a month ago, John doesn't play at all, but we golfed anyhow, with our kindly neighbors Kasey & Dan Hatzung, in our neighborhood's "Better Half Invitational," hosted by Ellen & John Skahan and Lindsay & Dave Polyak. Such fun, such non-serious golf, we had a complete blast, topped off by a lovely party at the Polyak residence. I brought an appetizer - a thin-crust "pizza," lightly topped with pancetta, caramelized onions, tomatoes, and fontina cheese and served at room temp - and enjoyed the buffet of gorgeous appetizers brought by all the golfers. Yum, I do love myself a pot-luck buffet...almost as much as my husband does...
Monday night we hosted my cousin Peter, his wife Kristin, and their adorable - adorable! - twin three-year-old daughters Emily and Erin. Stacey and Cooper were here too, to dig in to garlicky pork tenderloin, tsatsiki (yogurt sauce with cucumber, garlic, and dill), grilled pita bread, a giant Greek salad, and Suz's to-die-for blueberry kuchen for dessert (she served it to me on Friday Afternoon Coffee with Suz. I crave it - bonus, it's a breeze to make...).
Tuesday night, Kim The Maven of Mischief and I snuck out to Barrio Tequila Bar for mid-week tasty drinks and Mexican snacks. Crab empanadas, potato-chorizo tacos, and shrimps grilled on sugar-cane skewers didn't put a dent in their fine menu, but put us in a fine mood nonetheless, completely making up for the fact that I didn't make a res (which the annoying hostess gravely told me was a BIG mistake - ugh).
Tonight, no entertaining, but a recipe I'll (re)post, in case you're looking for a tasty appetizer for weekend entertaining. Crab cakes, baby, this version from our friend Carol Mack via Andrew Zimmern, is a stellar recipe. The focus is the crab (not breading), tender in the middle, crispy on the exterior, not too thick, not too thin. Basically, Perfect Crab Cakes. For a twist, tonight I stuffed them in toasted buns (moderate it: cut the middle out of the bun to make it much thinner, spritz with nonstick olive oil spray, then toast) and giggled that we were having Krabby Patties for din. Sauteed kale - fresh from my veggie share, likely picked this morning - alongside, a nice foil for the richness of the sandwich.
And this weekend, ah yes, another party, woo hoo! I'm counting 15 of us at this point, including my bro David, for a big ol' 4th of July Barbecue. I'm planning pork ribs, mini-burgers (with home-made mini-buns, I'll let you know how they turn out...), broccoli salad, garbanzo bean salad, potato chips (Cape Cod 40% reduced fat kettle-cooked chips are seriously yummy), and bing cherries, along with snacks by the pool (guacamole, raw veggies, and tortilla chips), along with dessert (compliments of Suz), along with cold beer and wine, along with fireworks on the golf course... Ooh, aah, one of my fave holidays.
Happy Independence Day!