Shared Summer Harvest

Come January we’ll be longing for these tomatoes. The taste of summer.

My friend R stopped by the other evening and shared these fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes.  Just picked!

Olive oil, chunky chopped onions and a couple of garlic cloves. Threw in the remaining cherry tomatoes (we’d been popping them in our mouths, unadorned)

Black beans and rice.  Mmmmmmmm.

What Special Things Remind You of Your Dad?

kitchenaid-mixer

So Many Possibilities

Reposted from Father’s Day 2011-so if you’ve been following me all this time, you’ve seen it before.

What My Dad Gave Me in 1986

There was a time when we lived in Kentucky and the kids were young,  I used this Kitchen-Aid stand mixer almost everyday. It still works perfectly. I wanted this mixer so badly when we returned after living in Germany for 3 years. I don’t remember any color choice except white or off-white/almond?  A couple of years ago I asked for a new beater as the old one’s coating had started to peel.  The dough hook, the whisk like beater beats egg whites to stand in peaks in short order.  All so useful and good.    Laura was just turning three when he got it and now she’ll be 27 in a couple of months. I used to ask each child what kind of cake they wanted for their birthday.  That year Laura asked for a “Piggy Cake” although I am not sure why. Mark asked for a State of Kentucky cake and Matthew a GI-Joe cake. Good thing  my friend J and I took a class in Cake Decorating in Grafenwoehr!

I was thinking about what to post for Father’s Day this year to remember my dad. This gift from him has mixed a lot of cake batter and bread dough in our house.  Last year I posted a slideshow of my dad’s life in a minute.  This year I’m posting a photo of his generous present that’s been well used and appreciated.

He’s been gone almost nine years.  Missing him everyday, not just today. What special things remind you of your father?

Update:  It will be fifteen years my dad’s been gone- come October. 

AND The Kitchen-Aid still works perfectly!

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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Maria Bakes Peach Cookies

Maybe you’ve been to a celebration and seen the fancy cookies that look exactly like a peach?

Meet Maria Costa.  If you live in Pittsburgh and need alterations on just about any fabric or piece clothing,upholstery or some throw pillows to match your couch, Maria is a seamstress.

But on Thursday she was baking peach cookies for her grandson’s First Holy Communion.

The first step.  Another day she’ll be cooking a vanilla pudding and filling the two halves of a ” peach”,  “gluing” them together with a finger of the filling spread on the bottoms and rolling the joined cookies in Peach Schnapps and then granulated sugar. She might add a leaf or two but no pretend stem as someone once choked on one. (Survived)

I was picking up my friend Barb to go to the art store and she asked if I could pick her up at Maria’s home instead of her house. I thought I was just picking her up.  Turns out Barb and Maria been baking all morning and Barb was taking good notes.  I was thrilled to smell the tempting baking aroma and see part of the process of the baking of the peach cookies.

They’d spent the morning baking. The dough used fifteen eggs as she thought they were on the small side but the recipe calls for a dozen!

I saw the giant wooden spoon she used to make the stiff dough. Mixers have been broken previously.

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Another day Maria will cook the filling and put the two hard halves of the peach together.  Roll them in Peach Schnappes( a hint of rosy food coloring added) and then confectioner’s sugar.  Each “peach” will rest in a pretty pleated cupcake paper on a platter.

Maria showed us the seedlings starting in her backyard garden.  Her fig tree.

Maria pointed out the province where she’s from- Calabria- Vibo Valentia   Italy

I hope I get invited with my friend to see the rest of the process in making the fancy peach cookies.  It was really nice to be welcomed into her kitchen.  The heart of her home.

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)