Hot Hot Hot Cold

Salade NicoiseDay two of a nice heat wave. Like the last one, it is warm enough to eat outside in the evening, which is pretty unusual for where we live. So, we like to take advantage it.

Tonight, we had a Salade Nicoise, which is something that you put together, more than something you cook. Though, there is more cooking than it would seem – but you don’t need to leave it all to just before you eat. In fact, you shouldn’t leave it all to the last minute because all of the elements of the dish, with the exception of the vinaigrette, should be chilled.

The salad’s cooked ingredients are hard boiled eggs, blanched green beans, boiled potatoes and seared tuna. All can be cooked ahead and put in the fridge for hours before fixing the salad. The main course is the essence of healthy (I guess, that is, if you don’t include the mercury in the tuna).

Seasoned Tuna
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Puff the Magic Egg

Souffle
Okay. I didn’t have it in me too make the souffle on Friday night. I was pooped from the luncheon. So we had leftover delight. L & J were definitely disappointed.

I made it up to them last night. For the first Saturday in a long time, we were home. Just the four of us. I rented a movie and I made the souffle and the artichokes. The artichokes from our garden do not have huge scooping leaves like regular ones. I’m not sure why, because they are globe artichokes. Nonetheless, they were delicious and had huge hearts. I cut 3 more from the artichoke plant yesterday. We’ll eat those this week. As usual, S and I had ours straight and the girls dipped their artichokes in melted butter. I snagged some of J’s butter for my heart (no pun intended!).
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The Secret Ingredient

egg
What do you cook when you don’t feel like cooking and it is so scorching outside you could fry an egg on the hood of your car?

Eggs.

But, I cooked them inside, on the stove.

Tonight, we had scrambled eggs on english muffins. It is S and my 13th anniversary and that was the first meal that I ever cooked for him. Just as good tonight as it was 14 1/2 years ago. The only difference was that tonight I made 4 egg sandwiches instead of two.

He guessed the surprise in the end, right before I was going to make dinner. It was an easy thing to guess, really. I didn’t have any groceries and I hadn’t started dinner, 5 minutes before our usual dinner time. I would have really shocked him by getting pizza delivered. But, not cooking would have been totally unlike me and we are having pizza on Friday.

Egg sandwiches – soon to be served at the fanciest restaurants for romantic dinners.

On with the Show!

pan-of-browniesIn spite of crutches and new, blue cast, L participated (of course!) in her Tuesday drama club performance. She was in two skits and all of the performers figured out how to work around her new, wider, less mobile self. We had to be there at 6:45 for the 7:00 performance that lasted about 1 1/2 hours. Parents were asked to bring treats for the little gathering afterward. I brought brownies – the good kind. They were gone in a flash. When L “poison tested” them, she declared, “Whoa. I see what you mean about the difference, Mommy. These are waaayyyy better.”
brownies-ready-to-serve1
J has been a pretty good sport about all the attention her sister has been receiving. And, she has been very helpful, too. So, I made her favorite dinner – Pasta Carbonara. But, we were rushed and I didn’t take any pictures. Next time, I’ll get a good shot.

Pasta Carbonara
1 lb. dried spaghetti
8 oz. bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup half & half
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
large serving bowl that will hold all of the pasta

1) Set a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta.
2) Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, over med-high heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Pour off most of the bacon grease from pan.
3) Add butter to pan, then add the onions and saute over medium heat until softened. Add garlic and continue to cook until the onions start to color. Add bacon back to pan and turn off the heat.
4) While the onions are cooking, put unbroken eggs in a bowl of hot tap water to warm them. Heat half and half (microwave for 45 seconds on high) until very hot – about a simmer.
5) Crack the now warmed eggs into the large serving bowl. Whisk until beaten. Slowly add the hot cream to the eggs. Add the 3/4 cup parmesan, the pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper. Whisk well.
6) Add pasta to now boiling water. Cook according to package directions.
7) When pasta is cooked, drain quickly (leaving it a bit wet) and immediately dump the very hot pasta into the bowl with the egg/cream/cheese mixture. Toss until all of the pasta is coated – the pasta cooks the eggs. Add the bacon and onion, and toss again until well combined.
8 ) Serve immediately with additional parmesan and black pepper.

Real Men?

Quiche
I hadn’t made quiche for a long time, but thought it would be a nice change and the girls generally like it.

What I didn’t expect was the response to the quip that S made, when he said, “I guess I’m not a real man, since real men don’t eat quiche.” He does like quiche, but the line was very ’80s and the girls just didn’t get it! So, J asks S, “Daddy, does that mean you are transgender?” Wow. Great question. “Uh, no honey, I’m not transgender. I was just making a joke about the quiche.” A great conversation ensued about different types of people, Proposition 8 (NOOOOO!), civil rights, the right to be who you are and what you want to be, etc.

And, that is why the kids eat what we eat and we eat together. Quiche, a great converstion piece!

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