OUTING # 2: SARA'S HOUSE
--I love that I am able to stay at home to raise the boys--it only took me ten years to adjust to the role! But I do love it, despite it's being one of the--if not the--hardest jobs in the world as my Grandpa Todd would say. But there is no vacation time built into the gig and you are on duty 24 - 7. So...just as you become ineffective after 100 some odd days of frontline battle (only the mother of boys would know that figure off the top of her head), a stay-at-home mother can go CRAZY without a little R&R: eating shopping, eating, walking, eating, shopping, eating...and bubble bath! Thus, OUTING # 2 to Sara's house in the southwest...HI HO SILVER AWAY!
|Sara's Appetizer: roasted red peppers and herbed ricotta on grilled bagette slices|
DAY 1: ARRIVAL
--Lunch at The Parlor : the Porchetta Pizza--Red Wine Braised Berkshire Pork / Broccolini / Shropshire Cheese / Red Wine Glaze
--Shopping / Talking / Shopping for curtains with 8-month-old cutie pie Matthew
--Dinner chez Sara's. Sara with her Mississippi roots is an EXCELLENT hostess. What does it mean to be an excellent hostess?? Well, not only does she have a beautiful, comfortable house, knows exactly where to take you out for shopping for a pair of shoes that would be perfect for you, has a gift for you, and makes you feel comfortable in your own skin, but she is also an excellent cook! So, after her husband whisked the baby off to bath and bed, she whipped up the appetizer above to tide us over while she made an excellent bucatini with all'Amatriciana. Bucatini is a very thick spaghetti with a tiny hole in the center and all'Amatriciana is a spicy tomato sauce. Excellent!
|Moon through the mesquite trees.|
DAY 2: GIRL TIME
--Breakfast: I woke up to home-made bran muffins, freshly squeezed orange juice (from oranges off her own tree) and blackberries.
--Lunch: the Zinc Bistro where I savored a crispy duck confit sandwich with house fries and...creme brule. It is a French restaurant afterall. It would be a sin to pass up dessert.
--Afternoon lounging around the pool and then we made a grocery list for I had brought Mario Batali's Grill Italian. And as Sara is a grill aficionado we decided to do four recipes from Mr. Batali's cookbook...they were (drum roll please)...
Anitpasto: ASPARAGUS WRAPPED IN PANCETTA WITH CITRONETTE
(*translation: Appetizer: Asparagus wrapped in italian bacon with an orange juice vinaigrette)
Primo: WARM SHRIMP SALAD WITH GREEN BEANS AND CHILES
Secondo: T-BONE FIORENTINA WITH SAUTEED SPINACH
(second platter: T-bone steak of Florence with sauteed spinach)
And our one bummer dish...
Another antipasto: GRILLED POLENTA WITH ROBIOLA AND SCALLIONS
No matter what I did, those polenta triangles (made with cornmeal) did not want to come off the grill. Sara thinks our polenta didn't set up right. And the scallions were too chewy, making it hard to eat. So here are our notes...
Sara readying the gas grill. Mr. Batali says gas or charcoal grills will work just fine.
Snap off the ends of the asparagus and wrap with thin slices of pancetta and refrigerate.
Place them on the grill...
Ooh La La! Just look at the pancetta crisp up so beautifully basting and steaming the asparagus inside. I'm inside whipping up the citrus vinaigrette.
Yeah...This dish was the hit of the night.
Shrimp went on next...
I got the toasted hazelnuts and red onions prepped and green beans parboiled (or boiled for about five minutes to bring them into fork-tender range. The shrimp dish...
is beautiful and very fresh...a good potluck contribution. Flavors could have sat together longer to mingle...and last, but certainly not least was the...
T-bone steak. They like their meat medium-rare...I chose an end piece that was just a bit more medium and so fabulous! Wow. Sara says she sears it 3-4 minutes on each side then turns the meat 180 degrees to get the cross grill marks (3-4 minutes each way). I think there's a little magic in there, too.
All four recipes here are gluten-free as well.
Day 3: GOOD SHOPPING and GOODBYES
--Breakfast: Homemade french toast (using panettone bread) & home-made orange juice
--Lunch: Short rib soft tacos...can't remember the name of the restaurant I was comatose by then...it's amazing I made it onto the plane...
--Shopping: 2 pairs of shoes (loafers and heels) both on some amazing 75% sale at Macy's or Nordstrom's or wherever we were...
--GOODBYE and PLANE FLIGHT and...
It was back to business as usual and I was ready for it!
the Good Food Fairy