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Farewell Summer Lunch with Pascal, Manou and Maelle

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

Before

Before

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

After

Coming…

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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A Greenmarket Lunch At Home with Pascal, Manou & Maelle

There are countless reasons to entertain at home and as many styles of entertaining.

We spotted Pascal, Manou and Maelle under the McDonald’s awning. Pascal Lemaitre is my friend and illustrator of my soon-to-go-to-the-printer book. A McDonald’s acolyte, Pascal insisted they were simply staying out of the sun and not exiting from a Big Mac. This was not just any McDonald’s awning, but the one across the street from New York’s Union Square super greenmarket.  While it does not rival San Francisco’s Ferry Terminal market, it’s a certified member of my farmers’ markets hall of fame.

Our dear Belgian friends were in Brooklyn for the summer. With my every waking hour seemingly going into the finishing touches of the book and development of the website, social times have been  few and far between. Spending time with friends is precious. I feared they would soon fly home with only their brief visit to Philadelphia to count as our time together. So we traveled up to New York.

At eleven AM on this perfect August Saturday the market was bursting. Our plan was to shop the market, return home and after some communal chopping, slicing, dicing and just a little cooking, a perfect summer’s lunch at home. Home happened to be my brother Fred and sister-in-law Nancy’s Tribeca apartment — a sort of home away from home for us.

Our strategy was to circle the entire market once and only then, confident we had targeted our prey, make a return shopping loop. The results of our efforts:

Picture 1

Eve’s Cidery’s Bittersweet Sparkling Cider — quick-chilled in the freezer as we completed our prep work

A salad of multi-hued baby & heirloom tomatoes, bi-color corn, red onion, garlic, a little balsamic vinegar, generous amounts of olive oil, kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper — all tossed by Maelle along with a several of her seven-year-old hand-fulls of torn chervil leaves

Wild arugula dressed with a touch olive oil

Tiny artichokes, trimmed, outer leaves removed, shaved and quickly tossed with lemon and olive oil to prevent discoloring the artichokes

Zucchini blossoms stuffed with a fresh local cheese

Flying Pigs Farm sweet and spicy sausages that I grilled in a grill pan

As a finishing touch, organic eggs cooked in sausage renderings — over easy or sunny-side up — served over grilled bread left-over from our previous night’s at home Middle Eastern take-out dinner together.

For dessert

Assorted berries & dark pitted cherries tossed with anise hyssop flower

Finally, Eve’s Cidery Essence — a late harvest apple wine

Picture 9

If someone, somewhere was having a better lunch, I’d like to know about it.

You could have this lunch. It’s nearly all just summer shopping in a farmers’ market, a little shared prep work and then, sitting down with friends and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your modest labors — at home.

Coming tomorrow–The Winning K-I-S-S is…

Coming Friday–Cold Corn Soup (don’t miss this wonderful four ingredient recipe)

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Filed under Entertaining at Home, Family and Friends, Menus, My Life