Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Joyce For Dinner

We found out late in the afternoon we would be lucky enough to have our neighbor Joyce over for dinner -- she has been out of town working and James and I were both looking forward to a visit.
But, our last minute plans left no time for elaborate recipes or lingering over shopping or even defrosting.
I made quick run for the meat counter and came up with two skirt steaks I rubbed with olive oil, minced garlic, chopped thyme and salt and let sit to marinate at room temperature for about an hour. As a sauce -- Joyce is company after all -- I made a quick blended Chimichurri (parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, crushed red peppers).
We have plenty of vine grown tomatoes and so I started out to make a tomato salad, but since James isn't a fresh tomato eater (sauce fine, salad no) I added in halved heads of baby romaine, thinly sliced red onions from our garden, chopped parsley and chucks of blue cheese and topped the salad with a buttermilk dressing I saw in September's Bon Appetit magazine. Delicious.
Along with fresh corn on the cob I used some of the squash from our garden in this dish, from a recent Food and Wine magazine, of roasted squash with ricotta. I cut the squash into 1/4" dice and popped it in a hot oven, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I sprinkled the cooked vegetables with cumin seed, fennel seed, and crushed red pepper and let them roast until just browned around the edges. With fresh mint leaves on top and creamy ricotta on the side this was a super simple side dish bursting with summer flavor.
I grilled the steaks for about 8 minutes total, let them rest while I brought the sides (well, a couple minutes more -- maybe 6 or 8 minutes total) to the table and dinner was served.
"Dinner was good," James said twice. "I liked that better then some of our fancier dishes."
So much for planning -- last minute dinner might just be the new plan around here.

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