It's been too hot to do anything more demanding than picking up a phone to order pizza. Really, who wants to grill when the temperature's over 100? But last night I had a can of crab in the fridge, made a quick batch of crab cakes, with a little chipotle mayonnaise. Chipotles are those dark smoky chiles; in adobe they acquire a tangy zing of vinegar, which makes their salsas even more memorable.
In your blender for every half cup of mayonnaise add two chiles en adobo, with a teaspoon or so of their juice. For an added thrill toss in a teaspoon or so of capers. Puree.
Do you grill fruit? Marcella Hazan, that goddess Italian, introduced me to the concept. Half an apricot, peach, or nectarine, a teaspoon of sugar--charred skin, sweet stone fruit.
Wait--stone fruit gone off or just gone, grab a banana. You heard me! The embers are dying, or the grill is still hot, throw a banana (unpeeled) on. Turn once, after a few minutes, and don't panic if the skin is dark brown. Remove from heat, nip at the tips and peel, slice lengthwise, shower a smattering of brown sugar, garnish with a dollop of crema mexicana, or creme fraiche or sour cream and you are now officially in grilled dessert heaven.
Up here in the true boonies known as Altadena live a celebrity or three. Cobb Estate was once the stomping ground of Harpo Marx; Zane Grey toiled away on his manual typewriter.
But today you can spot a red-head with a forehead riven with deep wrinkles dropping by the Coffee Gallery on Lake. Not impressed? Check him out in Hard Eight. I frickin love this movie. You've never seen Gwyneth Paltrow so gritty. Watch the trailer here, see the movie, then get back to me.
Inertia: Bodies at rest tend to stay at rest--bodies at parties tend to stay at parties. I can be one of those terrible guests that you need to shake a broom at to get rid of, or, failing that start hosing down the patio and washing the dishes. I stay too long because of the wonderful lure of the intimacy that can only be had as the party closes, and the guests have had too much fun, and the hostess offers up something to further stimulate our conversation and jaded palates.
Such was a recent evening, and as a small group gathered round the kitchen table and tried to address humanity's capacity for woe and error, the hostess popped open another bottle of Prosecco, and poured, but this time added a splash of cointreau and a blackberry. It was so good I wept over all the unadorned glasses of Prosecco I had ever had; and to scientifically verify the delight of the experience I had to repeat it, um, repeatedly.
My husband tugged at my elbow to leave, I urged him to go on home without me; soon however, I noticed the hosts had turned off the music and started mopping the kitchen floor in their pajamas. Definitely my cue to exit, stage left.
Grilling. 101 recipes, including a final one which chars skewered green olives for your dirty martini. I think I'll pass on that one, but there are plenty of others--a great 4 minute steak, with grilled red onions, queso fresco and a squirt of lime, as well of grilled fruit, a favorite of mine. I think I want to try out the lamb chops, as well. Want to see for yourself?
Check out Mark Bittman's list right here.
Take an assortment of greens, toss in vinaigrette of your choice, line shallow salad bowl. Boil string beans, or steam or microwave or pan fry skinny asparagus. Toss in said vinaigrette, scatter over salad bowl. Cunningly shell two hard boiled eggs, slice into eighths, and decorate said salad bowl. Slice ripe tomatoes, toss with vinaigrette, scatter throughout dish. Top tomatoes and hard-boiled eggs with bits of anchovy (yum). Scatter canned tuna, or deboned and deskinned canned salmon on greens. Feeling thorough? Add a huge dollop of potato salad, dressed with same vinaigrette, in center of salade bowl.
Serve with butter, baguette, and bottle of chilled wine.
Was there ever a day that couldn't be improved upon by a scoop of ice cream? Root beer floats, hot fudge sundaes, a Thrifty's ice cream cone are fond memories from childhood. Somehow I have replaced the root beer in my repertoire with wine--however the other night there was just a dollop of vanilla ice cream left in the container. Hmmm, what to do? A moment later I filled half a glass of Coke zero and the last scoop of ice cream. It was the perfect recipe for a summer evening.