Zucchini and Fresh Tomatoes Hint of Summer

Nell Miller’s Poor Man Meatballs

Three zucchini, grated and drained

Add a couple of eggs and a cup of Italian bread crumbs -salt and pepper

I tilt the bowl so excess liquid pools and can be removed

Mince by hand or whir a few garlic cloves in the food processor

Heat up the cast iron skillet. Add olive oil.

Shape and brown.

Tonight I added fresh grape cherry tomato sauce on the side.  Grate some Parmesan

tastes like summer

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Truffle Atop Poached Egg and Wild Asparagus Risotto

IMG_5711What an evening of taste bud surprises! WOW.

We took an evening tram to meet my son’s friends at a café.  Because it was the night before the Easter Holiday, every seat was taken. Quite a wait for a table. Everyone celebrating being off the next workday.

Bummer-  BUT  When the friends arrived they had a discussion for an alternate plan.  Wow, did I ever luck out that the café was full.  One went to procure a  bottle of red.

The first delight was I’s Sour Cherry apéritif which he’d made.  At first,  I was worried it might burn but my concerns were totally unfounded.  In fact, the drink defined summer captured in a slim crystal cylinder.  All I can say it the ruby liquid of summer’s sour cherries woke up every taste bud in my mouth.  Delicious.  Not to sweet, not too tart, zero burn. Perfection!

And then the surprise of M’s creation- Poached egg on fresh bread with the fruitiest most fragrant olive oil drizzle AND the unexpected luxurious truffle on top of the gently poached farm egg.  Or “home eggs” as my family refers to them.

I was feeling quite content with all I had eaten. Italian cheese and olives to start and then the Sour Cherry apéritif and the lovely truffle surprise.   And then the Wild Asparagus Risotto was ready to eat.  Freshly Grated Cheese on top. Oh my.  So bold.  It was wild! A flavor I’dd never before experienced,  created by a culinary expert.

I was happy to meet my son’s friends and be invited into a Zagreb home to experience  these tastes and more importantly their friendship and hospitality.

Sretan Uskrs and Hvala for a wonderful evening in Zagreb.

IMG_5711 iPhone photos don’t do justice to this dish.

 

 

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The wild asparagus simmers

 

 

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Words are inadequate to describe this bold Wild Asparagus Risotto. WOW!

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Tastes Better When Someone Else Prepares and Serves

Classic winter lunch made and served by my daughter Laura. Hit the spot on a gray chilly day.

img_3117Cheddar and Monterey Jack on wheat was the grilled cheese. She used the stovetop cast iron grill I gave her for Christmas. (Which covers two burners)

When Your Neighbor Brings You Pancetta

When your neighbor brings you pounds of pancetta, what else can you do? (Thank you Joaquin.)

Find a recipe, quickly.

I read some eat pancetta raw but that turned me.

Next time I’ll slice it more thinly. First, I warmed the dish in the oven, cooked the cut up pancetta for about 8 minutes in my cast iron skillet and then drained it on paper towels. Tossed  the eggs, cheese, minced garlic cloves mixture  onto the hot drained spaghetti  in the warmed casserole   Freshly ground pepper. Rich and good. Next time I’ll hold off on salting the pasta water as the pancetta and cheese made it salty enough.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup white wine which I didn’t have on hand so poured a glass of red to accompany this perfect dish for a snowy day.

Spaghetti Carbonara  

There’s plenty of pancetta left for several meals if you have any suggestions.

Hopkins County Stew

My neighbor up the street made a vat of Hopkins County Chicken Stew.(recipe)

She served it at their New Year’s Eve Party Saturday night.

I sent a text to thank her for the nice time and she texted back and invited me to come up around 4, bring an empty container, fill up! I took up a quart jar but she had a couple of gallons.

Yum.

When I got there, I was in awe of the huge pot she made it in. She was in the midst of major clean up from the party.  Steve and I  ate the warm penne and sweet sausage she sent home along with some stew.  Thanks for sharing your leftovers.

I’d never even heard of Hopkins County Stew from Texas.

Turns out there’s a big festival in Sulphur Springs Texas  (the fourth Saturday of October) and here is an excerpt from their webpage

“The cooking competition began in 1969, but the roots of the dish date from the late 1800s, The county had approximately 100 schools back then and it became customary to celebrate the end of each school year with stew suppers that were cooked in iron pots over open hardwood fires. 

There were no recipes.  Families just brought what they had and threw it in the pot.  The meat most likely was squirrel, and typically the most dominant vegetables were potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes.

There is still no authentic recipe for Hopkins County Stew.  For the annual cook-off, contestants may use chicken or beef (no squirrel) and there are separate prizes for the best stew with each meat.”

Here is another link to a recipe   I will have to ask Susanne which one she used.  The ones listed above (potatoes, onions, corn and tomatoes) are still the dominant ingredients.

 

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Slow Cooker’s Opposite? Instant Pot

My DIL introduced me to her Instant Pot last night. Says they’re really the latest trend.

I’d never heard of it.

An extreme pressure cooker which lets off lots of steam when finished.

She threw 3 ingredients in the pot and six minutes later it was complete. Even the dried penne and FROZEN meatballs.

They returned from swim practice and I’ve been here when the family is eating really late cause they get home and have to make dinner. Not last night.  We were dining at 7:30 which was like a magic trick!

There’s a porridge setting and you can make yogurt or a cheesecake

or homemade ricotta. Thousands of people have joined an Instant pot group

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Check out Elizabeth’s  blog for more recipes and information Pressure Cooker Pros

and her homepage

Exploring Homestead

Saturday afternoon in Homestead PA. Just across the Monongahela River.You take the Homestead Grays Bridge.

Annex Cookery has moved across the street into a wonderfully restored building and is now Art Space as well, featuring lots of interesting furniture, sculptures and art. Check out those fun and creative clocks! Delicious coffee will be served in a couple of weeks, once the rest of the chairs are delivered.

Trib Article David Lewis

Meet the Mayor of Homestead Betty Esper

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Just down the block is Studio AM  (available for private events-catering

open Thursday and Sunday- check link for hours and menu)img_0987img_0985img_0988

 

Retro on 8th sent out the invitations. They have everything from furniture music, books, toys, jewelry, clothing and even a huge mid-century orange ashtray.

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Meet RetroOn8th Co-Owner Hayley

 

 

In the same building as Annex Cookery and Art Space– I got the tour (thanks Daniel)

if you need well lit office space….just $1500 a month-   if you’re interested leave a comment below.

and upstairs is a spacious 2stories of fabulous loft apartment to rent……

You can live and work in the same building.

 

Spaghetti Arugula

Thanks to my neighbor for giving me the arugula.

Spaghetti Arugula.

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Steve brought home the olives and fresh pasta. A recipe from the excellent chef Anna Flevola formerly of La Cucina Flegrea. Garlic, olive oil, a bit of red onion, pine nuts, walnuts, raisins, red pepper flakes and a ladle of pasta water -topped with the rocket/arugula and freshly grated Parmesan.

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Ready to serve

This should be photo four but having WP posting issue w photos tonight