Polenta with Fresh Corn

I love summer!!

On Thursday night, when Grandma and WG joined us for dinner, I combined grilled steak with fresh, home made pesto. I’d never done that before. Why?! It was delicious. Forget sweet barbeque and steak sauces, which I rarely use. This is a combination that I will definitely make again. S also put some hickory wood chips on the fire and that also enhanced the flavor without making it smokey tasting. Mmmm.

And, what goes with steak and a mediterranean sauce? Polenta.

I made way too much – the reference recipe from Marcella Hazan’s “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” said that it would make 4 cups. I actually used slightly less polenta and came out with much more. Definitely enough to serve 8, which meant that Grandma and WG got to take home some leftovers to eat grilled or fried on another day.

We all liked the addition of corn to the polenta. It added a texture and burst of flavor that were delicious and unexpected. I made the polenta a little creamier by combining milk and water for the cooking liquid, plus some parmesan and a little butter at the end. Another keeper. The girls are not big soft polenta eaters, but they do like it grilled. I will make this for them when they get home!!
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A Turkey Burger Success!

Turkey Burger Dinner
The last time I tried turkey burgers, I had a total flop of a dinner. I was determined to try again, knowing so many people that love turkey burgers.

In my paring down of the piles of cooking magazines, I ripped a page out of Bon Appetit, from August 2008. Just one year ago. The recipe is called “Turkey Burgers with Tomato Jam, Olives and Feta”. I don’t know whether it would have sparked my interest, normally, but I read through the recipe and the combination of ingredients appealed to me. The recipe says that it is also good made with ground lamb, which I love. Rrrrrrip, in the “keep to try” pile.

The tomato jam wasn’t really a jam. It was a thick sauce. The flavor, when I stuck to the original recipe was a little dull and, well, not very jammy. So, I added more sugar and some crushed red pepper – sweet and heat. I was pretty happy with the result, but not crazy about the texture. I may fiddle with this one, because it was a good complement to the burgers. I think maybe I should puree the “jam” or make it with crushed tomatoes instead of diced tomatoes. Hmmm.
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Home and Home Cooking

After a week and a half away, S & I returned home on Friday…exhausted. We were in New York, for my parents 50th wedding anniversary, and in Washington, D.C., for a grand tour. Before returning home, we sent the girls off to camp for the summer. We came home kid-free and slept-in on Saturday, which was pretty luxurious.

Upon our return, S & I were ready for some home cooking. When you are on the road for a long time, food at restaurants gets old and it is hard to control yourself when the food is good – which it was.

We did have a couple of very memorable home cooked meals while we were gone: my sister, K, made grilled pizza one night, among other fantastic food; our friend, JS, made Maryland crab cakes, while we were visiting the D.C. area, that were, frankly, stupendous (and she also made fabulous pesto pasta and chocolate souffle); and finally, we had an incomparable breakfast at S’s cousins’ home – they made a full list of J’s favorite breakfast foods.

Nonetheless, we arrived home craving fresh fruit and vegetables, less salt, and, actually, a little less of everything. I will be mostly cooking for 2-4-dinner for the summer, except when guests are here. And, that has already occurred. Saturday night, Grandma and WG were here for dinner. Here is the menu we had:
Hummus and chips (while I was cooking)
*Chicken – roasted on the barbeque in a cast iron pan (too hot to use the oven)
*Asparagus vinaigrette
*Sliced fresh tomatoes

I don’t like to tamper too much with vegetables when they are so perfect at this time of year. Just a little salt, pepper and olive oil. Or, plain. This dinner was great kick-off to healthier eating. The chicken was from the farmers market and was a real “range” chicken. No cage, no all-day coup. Lean and delicious.

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