Our friends Pascal, Manou and Maelle were about to head back to Brussels after an all too brief summer’s stay in Brooklyn. We had a last opportunity for a farewell get together in New York. Our plan was to meet for a Friday evening dim sum bacchanal in Chinatown followed by a Saturday summer’s at home lunch at my brother and sister-in-law’s in Tribeca.
Note: Dim sum was at Mandarin Court, 61 Mott Street — the standard Sunday stop for P, M & M. We stuffed ourselves with dumplings–all quite good.
My menu plan began with an internet order for a pound of Pimientoes de Padron from La Teinda. More about these wonderful peppers tomorrow.
A friend, Anne, had dropped off red and yellow tomatoes from her mother’s garden early last week. Christina’s brother Larry brought a plump cucumber from his garden. I had a few purple sweet peppers leftover in the produce bin from Houng’s visit. This added up to a red gazpacho topped with concentric pools of diced yellow tomatoes and a deep green cilantro “pesto” inspired by a client tasting we did last week for an October event. This “pesto” was just lots of cilantro with garlic and olive oil — not officially a pesto as a pesto gets toasted pinenuts and Parmegiano Reggiano cheese. Mid-week I peeled, seeded and diced the tomatoes, chopped onion, garlic, cucumber and a few purple peppers. Some tedious tasks out of the way. I’ll provide a lesson on peeling and seeding tomatoes later this week and a gazpacho recipe next week with a suggested Labor Day menu.
Another inspiration from the client tasting was grilled corn cakes. My corn cake recipe will follow Thursday of this week. I had leftover Hot and Sweet Pepper Relish from my Chilled Corn Soup — a perfect condiment for the corn cakes.
My plan was to fill out the balance of the menu with solo stroll through the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday morning. That stroll yielded fennel flowers, pinkie-sized potatoes, just-caught ocean scallops, deep-hued nasturtium flowers and deep red oak leaf lettuce, berries and a sheep’s milk ricotta.
None of this was difficult to do. It was mostly shopping, some chopping and a minimum of actual cooking. The hardest thing technically was to make the mayonnaise, but you could certainly use prepared mayonnaise.
Our Farewell Summer Lunch Menu
Pimientoes de Padron sauteed with garlic and olive oil
Gazpacho with red and yellow tomatoes, cilantro “pesto” and seared diver scallops
Griddled Corn Cakes with Hot and Sweet Pepper Relish
Salad of Red Oak Leaf Lettuce and Nasturtiums
Baby Ruby Crescent Potato Salad with Fennel Flower Mayonnaise
Berries with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta from Valley Sheperd Creamery
Casa Garcia Vinho Verde – Branco (Portugal) – slightly effervescent, light, ideal summer lunch wine
After – clockwise from bottom: Corn Cakes, Pimientos Padron, Oak Leaf and Nasturtium Salad, Potato Salad, Berries with Ricotta, Gazpacho and Hot and Sweet Pepper Relish
Wednesday — Pimientos de Padron
Thursday — Corn Cakes Recipe
Friday — Lesson in Peeling Tomatoes
Saturday-Sunday — Chickens and Pigs: We’re All Pigs (About the team who produced the book.)
Next week — Plan to Entertain for Labor Day
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