Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Roasted Tomatoes, Burrata and Garlic Herb Breadcrumbs

A Light, Grilled Eggplant Parmesan with Roasted Tomatoes and Burrata

We love a good cocktail around here, but more often than not, when we’re looking for a drink to pair with our food, we choose wine. Both of us love the versatility of rich red varieties: making Grilled Steak With Blue Cheese Butter? Red wine is the perfect choice. Having friends over for cheese and charcuterie? Red wine is a must. Hosting a holiday Pork Roast? Yup, you know what to serve with it. As soon as we tasted this wonderfully fruity and spicy Mullan Road Cellars Red Blend, we knew we wanted to drink it with something grilled. We decided to take inspiration from one of our favorite classic dishes, Eggplant Parmesan, and lighten it up for summer. To bring it out into the sunshine, if you will. 

Campari and cherry tomatoes for roasting

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Gamush: Easy Weeknight Pasta Bolognese

A plate of pasta in sauce

Easy Weeknight Pasta Bolognese

It’s been a while since we blogged about a recipe with family history. We’ve been doing quite a bit of commissioned work for Serious Eats, and they’re a professional outfit you know, and you can’t just submit any old tosh on their site (ahem). Their readers are a refined, questing bunch, wanting to get to the nitty gritty of a recipe without having to weed-whack through paragraphs of us arse-ing around talking about our chickens, or what kind of expression our dog is making (bored, if you must know), or that time we tried to juggle seven lemons. As you know, we leave all the old tosh for our own site, so it is with a familiar thud that I dust off the book of Nerds Family History and tell you all about gamush.

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Orzo Salad with Zucchini, Tomatoes, Olives and Feta

A simple orzo salad with tasty colorful summer produce of zucchini and tomatoes, tossed with olives and feta cheese. Delicious and healthy!

Orzo Salad with Zucchini, Olives and Feta

Happy July 4th! Of course, this blog post is pre-recorded, so you’re probably reading this on July 6th, (or August 23rd if you’ve just got around to cleaning out your spam folder. Not judging!), but as we write this, it is a wonderfully sunny and warm July 4th, and we’re all sitting in the garden, grilling burgers and drinking beers – the sound of laughter and ball games percolates across the neighborhood, fireworks are starting down by the Hudson River and … Okay, I can’t keep this up, it’s pissing down, it’s been storming heavily for two days straight, the garden is basically flooded, and the only people enjoying a ball game are the German World Cup team. We’re sitting in our living room eating dry crackers and watching a Star Trek: Next Generation marathon (in between World Cup matches, of course). We downloaded a firework app on our iPad. Wheeeee. Look, that one’s in the shape of a hot dog. Happy now? Are you? Are you happy? *Sobs*

Tomorrow (yesterday for you) will be (was) sunny and warm, so fireworks, grilling, drinking and general merriment has been postponed a day. But here’s the thing. Some dishes are better prepared the day before, and left to marinade for a day. And, lucky us, this orzo salad is one of them.
Orzo Salad with Zucchini, Olives and Feta

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Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

We make grilled swordfish as soon as the weather is warm enough to fire the grill up – we use a quick marinade and serve it up with tomatoes and ramps.

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

I’m going to set a little scene for you. Ready?

It’s a warm, early summer evening and after days of torrential, flooding rains, the sky finally clears and you can see a million stars. You can smell the damp earth and the new leaves on the trees. You can hear the frogs that have just woken up from their winter-long sleep. You pull up to the lovely, perfect little restaurant where you’ve reserved a table, excited because you’ve heard great things about it and also because it’s been a long, hard winter and you haven’t gone out in what feels like forever. You hold your husband’s hand as you walk to the entryway, listening to a stream gurgling in the distance that you can’t see because it’s the country and it’s dark. You walk in and the place is adorable and there’s a seasonal cocktail menu written on the chalkboard above the bar and then they seat you at a table RIGHT NEXT TO PETER FRIGGIN DINKLAGE.

Yup. In the car on the way to the restaurant, Matt and I talked about how there was no Game of Thrones on Sunday because of Memorial Day and then they seat us right next to Tyrion Lannister himself. How tempted was I to say the waitress “Bring us bread, two of those little fish, and some bacon burned black?”  Very. But I restrained myself. Just barely.

Oh, and they also had grilled ramps. So, yeah. It was a good night.

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Spring Salad with Eggs

Spring Salad with Eggs

When it comes to things like fashion*, I’ve never been accused of being too colorful. As a born and raised New Yorker, my idea of wearing a rainbow consists of black, dark gray, heather gray, and maybe, if I’m feeling particularly spring-like, medium gray.

(*One exception: hair color. I’ve pretty much done them all, including green, blue, pink and many, many iterations of reds, blondes and blacks).

Somehow though, nothing makes me happier than a big, bold, colorful salad. It’s so satisfying to see nature’s bounty, all tossed together in a pleasingly chaotic array of hues.

While it’s still kind of slim-pickings at the a farmer’s market, we did manage to find some lovely red and yellow cherry tomatoes. Combined with avocado, hard boiled eggs, and best of all,  Quick-Pickled Red Onions and Sweet & Sour Pickled Radishes, this salad is as pretty as it is delicious. 

Spring Salad with Eggs

The nice thing is, if you’ve gone to the (minimal) trouble of making the pickles, you can use some of the seasoned vinegar to make a delicious, simple vinaigrette.

Nerd Tips:

  • Don’t over-cook the eggs! That will prevent the gross sulphur green ring around the yolk.
  • If you use bacon, you can also make a warm bacon-vinaigrette. Yum.
  • Want more protein? Add beans (I love cannellini beans best)
  • Like lots of crunch? Add 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts (or pecans, hazelnuts or even peanuts).

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Arugula, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

imageMatt and I used to live just around the corner from one of the best Italian specialty stores in Brooklyn. Caputo’s. Oh dio, this place is fantastic. They import the best stuff from Italy and make their own sausages and fresh pastas. They also make mozzarella and ricotta several times a day so it’s always extremely fresh. Needless to say, we were there a lot.

Note: This story gets a little sad… It was actually the owner’s elderly father who made the mozzarella and he liked to pick out the perfect ball for each person, dip it in the salty brine and hand it to you himself. It was very sweet. So one day Matt and I go in and order a bunch of stuff and as we’re chatting with the old man, he asks us how long we’ve been married. We tell him and he tears up, grabs my hand and tells me that his wife died. So of course, I tear up as he says how much he misses her. Now the old man and I are creating quite an awkward spectacle. Not what people expect to see as they’re buying their gnocchi. The owner comes out from the back and calms his dad and explains that his mom actually passed away a few years ago but his dad forgets this. Then he kindly hands me a tissue as I am no longer at all sanitary.

After that day, for some reason, every time the old man saw me, he would burst into tears. I felt so bad that I was triggering this reaction that I would lurk outside to see if the old man was there, and if he was, I would get the counter guys to sneak a mozzarella ball into my order while I would duck behind the counter. He stopped working eventually but mozzarella now has this bitter-sweet association for me. Maybe now it will for you too! You’re welcome.

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