Mimi’s Mid-Week Attempt at Creativity

My dinners were getting a little “ho-hum” so, I scoured months of Bon Appétit and Food & Wine magazines to introduce a little variety.  I found this salad in Bon Appétit July 2014 — a nice refreshing summer blend.  (Go here for the recipe:  Summer Salad)

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Divas “dish” on Mimi’s dish.  If you checked out the recipe in Bon Appétit you will notice mine looks absolutely nothing like theirs.  I couldn’t find fava beans.  We love Great Northern White Beans and I substituted them.  Pea shoots are impossible to find within 100 miles of Buck Hill Falls!  Finally, surprising to me, Wegmans had not a single head of Bibb lettuce.  Still a great salad!!!  Sue:  Snow peas or blanched sugar snap peas would also work great in this dish.  I love them because they taste great cold and have nice crunch.  I would probably substitute cannellini beans because I always have them in my pantry.  Wegmans didn’t have Bibb lettuce?  That’s insane, I can’t believe it.

 

I rarely make scallops;  I don’t really like them.  In an adventurous mood, I decided to give this dish a try.  Click here for the recipe in Food & Wine Magazine:  Cilantro Scallops.

 

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final_300dpiDivas “dish” on Mimi’s dish.  When you marinate the scallops, don’t leave them in the marinade more than 15 minutes — it’s not a ceviche, you grill these!  We probably could have used a hotter flame to develop a nice golden brown crust on them.  I thought it would be good to serve the scallops on tortillas  that were  “crisped up” under the broiler.  After squeezing the lime juice on the scallops, just pile 1/2 of a scallop and some avocado on a wedge of the tortilla and create one delectable bite!  Sue:  I only like scallops pan seared.  It’s hard to get them just right on the grill … unless, of course,  you have a barbecue addiction like Bobby Flay!

Guest Diva — Karen

When you’re invited to dinner at Karen and Harold’s you can count on having a great time – their recent party went well into the early morning hours, as always! Really, truly no one wants to leave. And Harold is so generous if you admire the wine, he insists you take a bottle home with you.  The evening always has a theme and without fail is beautiful. Karen is a design expert and her home and entertaining style reflect her wonderful talent. Here’s a peek at a recent party we attended.

We were so enthralled … the setting …  the guests … the wine …  the dog, I only remembered to take one picture of the food.

 

Karen's killer gazpacho.

Karen’s killer gazpacho.

 

But anyway here’s what we ate.

lobster

Our lobster wasn’t smiling …

corn

corn on the cob slathered with butter!

angel

Get it? Angel food…

cake

….cake

Cartoons courtesy of Cliparts.co (click below)
Lobster cartoon
Corn on the cob cartoon
Angel cartoon
Cake cartoon

Guest Diva — Lisa

Guest Diva Lisa was so excited to share her carb-free “yummy” dinner she sent a text replete with happy faces.  The salad is:  tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet onion and basil with balsamic vinaigrette.  Those are zucchini stuffed with organic chicken sausage, onion, red pepper, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic, basil all topped off with mozzarella cheese and baked at 425°.

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The Divas “dish” on Lisa’s dishes.    Mimi:  I frequently make a salad like this and tried Lisa’s version.  I like hers better, although, I added feta cheese which she forgot in her preparation.  Here’s what mine looked like.  Sue:  Wow that’s a healthy dinner — lots of veggies!  I don’t know Lisa but bet she’s trim.  Mimi:  Yes she is!  And beautiful too!

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Mimi Experiments with Dandelion Greens


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We eat salad almost every night so I am always searching for something a little different to serve.  As always, my devotion to Bon Appétit Magazine paid off with a bitter greens salad.  Click here for the recipe to try it yourself Bitter Greens Salad.

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The Divas “dish” on Mimi’s dish.  For real, how bad can any salad be that has pancetta, cheese and corn in it?  I would have raved about this but for the greens — two words on dandelion greens:  never again!  This was my first attempt at working with them and we found them tough, unpleasant, unappetizing (maybe sautéed they are better).  I am opting for the arugula the next time I make this.  Sue:  I have never had dandelion leaves in salad, only in soup.  True story:  my husband’s grandfather, who was from Naples, Italy, would pull his truck to the side of the road when dandelions were blooming and pick all of the leaves and bring them home to Mimi (my husband’s grandmother!) to add to her soups.  Diva-licious!!!

NYC Pasta Night at Sue’s

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My daughter-in-law was bringing the baby, who is a year and a half old, over for a trip to the park.  So, I turned it into a family pasta night.  She, two of my four sons, my husband and I had a true Italian feast.  I found the pasta recipe in Food & Wine Magazine.  Just click here to try it yourself mixed pepper pasta.

In the summer vine ripe tomatoes are so sweet, this salad is a go to dish for my family.

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The Divas “dish” on Sue’s dish.  I didn’t follow the pasta recipe to the letter.  I used additional olive oil and a pint of cherry tomatoes which I cooked 1/2 of with the peppers.  I like to slice the peppers lengthwise because it’s prettier.  Also, who needs cooking water when you’ve got 3-4 tbsp. of butter to melt with your pasta?  And Parmigiano Reggiano cheese makes everything better!  I also used a dark balsamic vinaigrette on the salad rather than my usual lemon vinaigrette.  Mimi:  All I can say, is you would not believe the size of the kitchen Sue creates such magnificent meals out of in NYC!  Of course, I want to eat all of this food right now!!!

 

 

Need a Break? Make Mimi’s Pasta Puttanesca

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A favorite in our house is:  pasta puttanesca.  But maybe not in the summer when you are craving a cold or room temperature dish?   Make the puttanesca but don’t cook it.  Diva-licious!

Shopping List
6 on the vine tomatoes
1  80z jar pitted kalamata olives
1  8 oz jar capers
1 tin flat anchovies
Extra virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb pasta
Fresh basil

Preparation

  • Rinse, dry and coarsely chop tomatoes, place in large bowl
  • Cut in half lengthwise 1/2 cup kalamata olives, add to tomatoes
  • Rinse and drain 1/4 cup capers, add to tomatoes
  • Coarsely chop 3 anchovies, add to tomatoes
  • Add 1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Add 1 – 1  1/2 tsp crush red pepper flakes
  • With a hand-held potato masher, mash all of the ingredients together, but leave it a little “chunky”.  Cover with plastic, do not refrigerate.
  • When you are ready to eat, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain, add to tomato mixture and thoroughly combine.
  • Chiffonade about a cup of fresh basil leaves and gently stir into pasta before serving.

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A Diva “dishes”.  Chiffonade means cut in thin strips.  Don’t make my mistake of buying olives with pits … what a pain in the neck slicing them!  Add the anchovies to taste.  I used 6 filets … we love them.  Experiment, see what you like.  I used 1  1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes — again, personal preference, we like spicy food!  Use any pasta you prefer.   This dish I used casarecce and have also tried buccatini.  The thicker pastas go better with this recipe.  Let this sit for up to 4 hours and allow the flavors to meld and emerge.  I usually recommend a sangiovese with pasta.  But, this dish is so savory I wanted a little balance and chose Two Angels Cabernet Sauvignon 2010.   My experience of this wine was dark fruit and chocolate. I felt it really complemented the pasta.

Buck Hill Falls Men’s Member-Guest Weekend

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Well, I said I would post what I cooked when my stepson and his wife visited for the Buck Hill Falls Men’s Member Guest.  Here it is  — some great successes and two total failures.

First night in Buck Hill … what else?  Ribs!  I experimented with Sweet-and-Spicy Ribs from Bon Appétit Magazine June 2015.  (Find the recipe here:  Sweet-Spicy-Ribs)  In a word:  Perfection — Fall off the bone tender and full of contrasting flavors. (Ok that’s more than one word but, they deserve it!)

Sweet- and-Spicy Ribs -- fall off the bone tender and full of contrasting flavors

I’m (almost) embarrassed to say that 4 people ate all of these ribs in one sitting.

My stepson’s favorite dinner is incomplete without these…

…and this:

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A Diva “dishes”.  I am obsessed with making my pie crust.  So, what possessed me to find a new recipe and use my food processor to make the crust, when I’ve done this a thousand times?  The result was a mess that ended up in the trash.  I ran to the market and used a Pillsbury’s ready-made pie crust.  Still  tasted great but sometimes it’s best to stick with what you know.  We drank a very special bottle of wine with dinner:  Frank Family Vineyards Winston Hill Red.  It is a deep intense wine that simply exudes fruit on the palate.  It transports us back to our fun times in Napa Valley.

The Next Night

We start with another perennial favorite!

We started with another of our perennial favorites!

Thank goodness we had the tomato mozzarella salad … keep reading you’ll understand why.

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It took 2 hours two days before to make this beautiful fresh pasta…

…and  a mere 5 minutes for it to turn into a ginormous, gloppy, gooey disgusting mess when I dropped it in the boiling water!!! My very first failure at fresh pasta.  Boo Hoo!  My husband rushed off for store-bought pasta because I never thought I’d need a “back-up”.  An hour later we had this:

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Store bought pasta with my home-made basil pesto and grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

I redeemed myself with this:

Home made chocolate hazelnut ice cream

Home-made chocolate hazelnut ice cream

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The Divas “dish” on Mimi’s food.  The great fresh pasta debacle of 2015 was a result of me not allowing the pasta to dry sufficiently before storing it in the refrigerator.  Sue says:  “Don’t feel bad about making a mistake, “live and learn”.  Believe me next time Mimi will let her pasta dry, especially on a humid day, which it was!”    My stepson said:  “For Mimi, this will  always be the weekend where she ruined the pasta.”