August 24th, 2014 ~ Weekly Dinner Menu



Baked Squash Blossoms with Ricotta & Honey  |  Grilled New York Strip Steaks  |  Roasted Eggplant & Red Pepper Relish  |  Roasted Summer Squash


Summer Corn Chowder


Caponata & Pasta


Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Gazpacho  |  Shredded Egg Salad with Avocado Bruschetta


Pan Seared Sea Scallops  |  Corn Risotto in Sweet Corn Broth  |  Chopped Tomato & Arugula Salad


 ~ Friday Night HS Football Game ~

8-23-14 SF Farmers Market Collage

“Like tomatoes, eggplants won’t reach their peak of quality until August and September.  At that time, look for fruit that is very shiny and firm.  The best eggplants have dense, uniformly firm, sweet flesh with small, tender seeds. Eggplants that are dull and puffy are over~the~hill, and will be bitter and full of unpleasantly hard seeds.  In the home garden, pick them when they are no more than two~thirds full size.”  

~  Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables

Inspiration for this week’s dinner menu began at last week’s farmer’s market when the first eggplants of the season caught my eye.  Their dark purple skin, shining in the morning sunlight, could not help but attract attention amidst the yellows, oranges, reds and greens of their neighboring produce.  Since I have rarely cooked eggplant at home, I wanted to do a little homework before picking up a few of these late summer beauties in order to find one or two recipes that would showcase their sweet flavor and tender texture rather than burying the fruit under a layer of cheese {although I do love a good eggplant parmesan}.  I settled on this Eggplant & Pepper Relish as well as this Caponata recipe.  

Also on my market list this week…squash blossoms.  Once again, I have often enjoyed these little delicacies when dining out but have never made them at home.  These little blossoms made a strong appearance at last week’s farmer’s market but Mallory and I were ecstatic to track down just one small container of these tender flowers this week.  This sought after treasure will be turned into an appetizer for our Sunday dinner this week, slightly adapting this very popular recipe.

A few more notes on this week’s menu:

SUNDAY:  When researching squash blossom recipes this week, Waldy Malouf’s Baked Squash Blossoms with Ricotta & Honey kept popping up on my screen.  It first caught my eye because the blossoms were baked instead of fried and, although the recipe turns these flowers into a dessert, I will be attempting a more savory version by coating the blossoms in a mixture of panko, parmesan cheese and chopped chives from the garden {in place of the cookie crumbs called for in the original version}.  This Eggplant & Pepper Relish will be served as a condiment to our grilled New York strip steaks this evening, adapting the recipe slightly by following this method to roast not only the eggplant but also the fresh red bell peppers I picked up yesterday {substituted for the jarred peppers called for in the original recipe}.  A bit more work, I know, but it is Sunday and still summer so I will gladly fire up the grill and spend a little extra time cooking outside.  Finally, while the steaks grill outside, summer squash that has been cut into good~sized chunks, tossed with a glug of olive oil and seasoned with sea salt & freshly ground pepper will take a turn in the oven until lightly golden brown.

MONDAY:  This Summer Corn Chowder appeared on our dinner menu last week and it is back by popular demand.  I slightly adapted the preparation by using coconut milk in place of the dairy called for in the original recipe.  Also, after cutting the kernels from the cobs, I soaked the cobs in the coconut milk and gently simmered for a few minutes while the remaining vegetables were cooking.  The finished soup was FANTASTIC!  Served it on its own {no accompanying bread or salad} and everyone found it completely satisfying.  A very easy, one bowl, summer dinner.  I hope to get my non-dairy version of this soup posted soon.

TUESDAY:  I am using this Caponata recipe as a starting point for our dinner tonight employing a couple of slight modifications…

”  Eggplants can be grilled, baked, stuffed and braised, sautéed in olive oil, or breaded and fried.  In fact, we don’t often fry eggplant at the restaurant, because it is such a sponge for oil and tends to taste heavy and oily as a result.”  ~  Alice Waters, Chez Panisse Vegetables

Following Ms. Waters’ advice {and with considerably less time tonight than what was available to me on Sunday when I roasted the eggplant over the coals}, I will be be roasting the eggplant in the oven after tossing it with a drizzle of olive oil.  And, with tomatoes so beautiful right now, using the canned variety seems criminal.  Tossing a few, very ripe and quartered tomatoes, in with the eggplant won’t add any time at all to this simple recipe.  I will make the caponata in advance  and, come dinner time, it will be tossed with some pasta for a quick dinner.

WEDNESDAY:  The recipe for this Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Gazpacho is from Canal House Cooks Everyday, by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton.  I have made it several times and it is not only easy to prepare but also extremely flavorful.  When tomatoes and peppers are at their peak {as they are now}  this soup really shines!  Hirsheimer & Hamilton suggest garnishing the soup with chopped hard~boiled eggs and croutons but for tonight’s dinner I am making it more of a meal by serving this Shredded Egg Salad with Avocado Bruschetta

Intro Collage

THURSDAY:  We love scallops and risotto.  Last week,  we enjoyed Sea Scallops with Lemon Risotto and for this week’s rendition I am serving meaty sea scallops that have been pan seared until golden brown all over atop a Corn Risotto with Sweet Corn Broth.  I especially like this risotto recipe because it utilizes a rich broth made from the corn cobs in place of the more traditionally used chicken stock {I used the last of my homemade chicken stock on hand in last week’s risotto}.  My favorite summer salad  is easy and hardly requires a recipe…very ripe tomatoes are sliced and topped with a handful of arugula leaves and dressed with nothing more than a drizzle of really good olive oil, a sprinkling of sea salt and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper.

FRIDAY:  High School football season is in full swing!  Max and his team have an away game tonight, playing under the lights up in Sonoma county {quite the drive on a Friday evening!} so dinner is a big ??????

Have a wonderful seek everyone!

K Medium



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