Mimi’s Bruschetta and London Broil Dinner

For a  final summer evening celebration last weekend, my husband and I enjoyed a party for two under the stars.  I made bruschetta, one of our favorite warm weather treats, which is oh so simple to throw together.  It’s just tomatoes, garlic and basil with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt on top of toasted bread.  Of course, you recognize another favorite of ours, grilled london broil on salad.   The salad was just baby arugula with lemon vinaigrette.  Our celebration was a great finish to a very happy but much too short summer in beautiful Buck Hill Falls.

…and a Diva “Dishes”.

What a perfect way to end the summer.  I think the peppery arugula is wonderful and how can you beat a perfectly grilled London broil?  The one thing I will add is that I put a (big) sprinkle of grated parmigiano reggiano on top of my bruschetta.  Other than that I think this looks great.

Sue’s Caprese Salad

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Heirloom tomatoes are in season in August and they are a bit pricey but worth every dime.  The tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and citrus vinaigrette are  the perfect summer combination.  I slice all of the ingredients and store them separately (it’s easiest to slice the mozzarella when it’s cold).  I keep the tomatoes at room temperature because it brings out their flavor.  Just before dinner I assemble the salad, it takes no time at all.  What could be easier and tastier?

… and A Diva “Dishes”

What can I possibly say about Sue’s salad other than I want to eat it RIGHT NOW?  I “construct” my version of this salad.  I create individual portions by layering one slice of tomato,  one basil leaf and then one half slice of mozzarella.  Then I drizzle the salad with balsamic vinaigrette and sprinkle toasted pine nuts on top.  I doesn’t taste any better,  I think it just makes it easier to serve.

Mimi’s Linguine and Clams

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Late Friday night when we arrive at our place in Buck Hill Falls, we sit in front of the TV eating the dinner I take with us and we watch Diners, Drive – Ins and Dives.  No matter what we are eating, I crave whatever gloppy, deliciousness they are whipping up on that show.   After I saw the episode that featured spaghetti alle vongole, I just had to make it.   The recipe was so enticing and Guy Fieri and the featured chef made it look so easy.  Well it was super yummy but, not so easy.  On TV they just toss in the ingredients:  baby clams (already steamed and taken out of the shell) and little necks (with the grit already thoroughly cleaned from them).  You get the idea,  this dish takes a little prep work.   I’d still make it again in a heartbeat.  My husband and I chowed down on this “triple D” delicious dish!

You can get the recipe on the Foodnetwork website but here’s a couple of extra pointers I would add.

  • Go heavy on the garlic.  I doubled what was in the recipe.
  • I cooked  with very good dry white wine (that I was also drinking).
  • Be very patient cleaning your clams — grit will ruin this meal.  I got every bit of grit out of the clams.  Here’s how I did it:  1) scrubbed the outside of the shells with a stiff brush;  2)  placed the clams in a large pot filled with water, kosher salt and ice and put the pot in the refrigerator;  and  3)  over 2 hours changed the water every 1/2 hour refilling the pot the same way and rinsing the clams in a colander with each change of water.
  • Do not over cook your clams — they will get tough.  I took two dozen and steamed them in water.  As soon as the water boiled I started checking the clams to see if they opened.  Once they were all opened I drained them and removed them from the shell.
  • When you cook your clams in the broth, do the same thing.

… and a Diva “Dishes”

Although, I think Mimi’s picture looks beautiful, I NEVER make linguine and clam sauce this way.  It is just too much work to clean the clams.  I buy the white clam sauce in a jar from Progresso and it’s good!  If you want to jazz it up a bit, you can add some garlic, fresh parsley and another can of baby clams (if you prefer it very meaty).