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Friday, July 13, 2012

And We're Off... Again

So this is how it feels.  This is how it feels to be one of those people who "travels".  For years, Ted was constantly on the road "doing deals" and I never thought about how tiring that must have been.  Now I know and I'm not even "doing deals".  I'm watching Kate play tennis.

But, be that it as may, we are off again.  This time to lovely Rome, Georgia... in July.  It will be hot.  It will be humid.  My hair, usually so compliant, will all of a sudden become as difficult as a teenager girl.    Nothing, not even a flat iron, will be of help... and I have straight hair.

But last night we got lucky.  The four of us were all home for dinner and we all sat down together.  I would love to tell you that it was lovely, but my kids are 20 and 17.  Need I say more?  They are sometimes a lot like my hair... in July...  In Georgia.  Not quite as cooperative as I might like.

Nonetheless, even allowing for the fits and starts of kids, it was a lovely dinner.  The food was good and it was so nice to have everyone together.

And now we're off again.

A Nice Summer Dinner on the Patio

Recipe: Red Wine and Coffee Marinated Frank Steak
(Fine Cooking Magazine, July 2012)
This marinade works well with beef and pork.


1 cup brewed espresso or very strong black coffee, at room temperature
1 cup full-flavored red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, or Zinfandel
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, grated on a rasp grater
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1-1/2 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Coarsely ground black pepper
Flank Steak (or any other cut you like)


In a medium nonreactive bowl, whisk the coffee, wine, olive oil, garlic, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, and 2 tsp. pepper until well blended.

Recipe:  Couscous with Fresh Corn and Blue Cheese
(Fine Cooking Magazine, July 2012)


2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 to 4 medium ears)
1 cup sliced scallions (white and green parts)
Kosher salt
1 cup couscous
Pinch of cayenne
2 Tbs. crumbled blue cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the thyme and cook until fragrant, a few seconds. Add the corn, scallions, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the scallions are softened, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup couscous, stir, and then add 1 cup of boiling water and the cayenne and stir again.


Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork, stir in 2 Tbs. crumbled blue cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Recipe:  Honeyed Fig and Goat Cheese Tart
(Fine Cooking, July 2012)


Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
1 sheet (half of a 17.3-oz. package) frozen puff pastry, thawed overnight in the refrigerator
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
1/4 cup honey (preferably dark)
8 ripe, fresh figs (6 if large), preferably 4 black and 4 green, stemmed and quartered lengthwise
1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.

Lightly dust a sheet of parchment with flour. Unfold the pastry, place on top of the parchment, and lightly dust with flour. Roll out the pastry to a 10-inch square. Prick all over with a fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Make a 3/4-inch border on all sides by pressing the edge of a ruler into the pastry to mark it. Fold the pastry over at the markings to make a double-thick rim. Transfer the pastry on the parchment to a rimmed baking sheet. (The pastry can be prepared up to this point a few hours ahead and kept in the refrigerator.) Bake until the center is golden-brown and puffed, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese and 2 Tbs. of the honey in a medium bowl. Spread the cheese mixture inside the border of the puff pastry. Arrange the figs on the cheese, alternating colors if you like. Sprinkle with the rosemary and 1/8 tsp. salt. Bake until the rim of the pastry is golden-brown, about 7 minutes.

Drizzle with the remaining 2 Tbs. honey and cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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