There are not many things that can pull my home-body self away from my family on a Tuesday night, but a tasting dinner at a Zagat rated local restaurant is one of them. Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to dine (with eight of my fellow local food bloggers) at Ristorante Sapori located in Royal Palm Plaza in Boca Raton. Wow!
Every summer, I feel obliged to make a peach pie. My favorite, go-to version has always been this one that my grandmother, Myne, makes. It’s a ludicrously easy recipe that produces swoon-worthy results – and Pillsbury pastry works great! The lattice crust peach pie that Emily helped weave last year was another standout and led to an even more sublime peach cocktail! This year, Em begged me to make hand pies. You know, portable, flaky and filled with ripe, oozy peaches. Yeah, I could do that. Peach Bourbon Brown Sugar Hand Pies.
This is less of a “recipe” and more an “assembly” arising from a dire need to get breakfast in my belly – NOW! I woke with one of those gnarling, hollow feelings in my stomach — a cacophony of noisy rumbles and cat-like yowls insistently pushing me toward the kitchen. A bowl of bran cereal just wasn’t going to cut it. I stood in front of my open refrigerator and took stock. I needed something that was fast and filling. If I had been standing in front of my pantry, I would have grabbed a spoon and a jar of peanut butter. Instead, I reached for the eggs and 10 minutes later, I gobbled down this Smoked Salmon Pepper Scramble.
Now is THE TIME for chopped salads. Produce is at its apex – the corn is sweet, the zucchini and cucumbers are inundating backyard gardens and the bell peppers are crunchy and sun-kissed. The vegetables are all but DEMANDING to be mixed into this Mexican Chopped Salad.
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Remember those Sriracha Lobster Rolls? Seriously fabulous chunks of Maine lobster meat tossed in a tangy, spicy, mayonnais-y sauce and loaded onto a soft buttered and lightly toasted potato roll? Do you remember me imploring you not to throw away the shells? I hope you listened, because today, we’re making Homemade Lobster Stock and it’s a whole lot easier than you might think.
5:30 workout at the gym
6:45 coffee, make lunches, catch up on e-mails
7:15 breakfast and the common question – “What do you want for dinner?”
I don’t ask that question because I’m starving for a pork chop, right now — I just want a heads up on what I should take out of the freezer to defrost, so that I’m not caught at 6:30 that night with no plan. Not that it doesn’t happen, but at least with something defrosted, I’ve got a loose framework of where to start.
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Panna Cotta is a silky, creamy, custardy revelation!Usually made from milk and cream with a little sugar and gelatin to give it that soft jiggly texture. It’s not as firm as regular gelatin desserts that you can swish and squish between your teeth (oh, is that just me?) No, panna cotta barely holds its shape until it hits your tongue, where it promptly dissolves into a barely-there-bliss. Am I overselling? Seriously, this stuff ROCKS!
Bran muffins, anyone? I see you wrinkling your nose. I see you rolling your eyes. (I’m a Mom, so I’m used to being on the receiving end of “hands-on-hips, head-cocked-to-the-side, mouth-agape, head-shaking, what-planet-are-you-on” looks). Think what you want, but these cinnamon blueberry bran muffins are anything but a nose wrinkling, eye rolling, meh breakfast food. In Emily’s words, “Oh-Ma-Gawd! So good!” And she meant it.
Here’s a dinner option that’s fancy enough for company, but easy enough for a Tuesday night. Crispy Pork Cutlets with Fresh Peach Salsa. I know! Doesn’t it look good? Crunchy panko-coated cutlets, fried to a golden brown and topped with buttery, salty prosciutto and a sweet, tangy peach salsa. Yum! And it comes together quicker than you might think. About 40 minutes start to finish. Faster, if you can enlist some helpers to chop the salsa and set the table.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought (or caught) a live lobster and cooked it yourself. It’s not something you do everyday, right? First, they’re cost prohibitive (that’s why I saved them for a special occasion – Happy 4th of July!) Second, if you’re the squeamish sort, there’s that whole “cooked alive” thing which can be off-putting for some. I grew up cooking bushels of live blue crabs in a big pot over a propane burner every summer, so I’m less sentimental than some. My daughter, on the other hand, had made friends with the crustaceans between the time we left the market and arrived home. She was horrified at having to choose which one went into the pot first, but the promise of Sriracha Lobster Rolls eased her guilt. A little.