“Baby, baby, baby, You’re Out of Time.”Rolling Stones
Farewell Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and, more than likely, the zaftig and glistening Mrs. Butterworth. You had a good run, but frankly, I’m actually surprised you’ve lasted this long. Also banished from butter (and other dairy products) is the Land ‘O Lakes lass and I believe I heard Miss Chiquita‘s dance party is ending, so hang on to your fruit-filled basket, it’s about to come tumbling down. Colonel Saunders seems ripe for replacement, but monocled Mr. Peanut, who was rumored to have died at the Superbowl this year, is apparently still alive and crunchy. I would bet that the Kool-aid Man is safe (although sugar-haters may disagree), but the Lucky Charms Leprechaun and Chef Boyardee better watch their backs. Eskimo Pie is losing its fur-fringed little Eskimo and the smiling, black-hatted Quaker Oats Man is being reconsidered for religious reasons. It’s only a matter of time before Tall people object to the Jolly Green Giant and short people (like me) to the Keebler Elves. It’s a strange time we’re living in, that’s for sure!
“I’m so worried about all this.”my friend Martha said the other night at dinner.
She’s worried about her health and her family’s health with the Pandemic, worried about the economic health of our country and worried about the protests and rapid sea change that’s sweeping our country and our world. I can’t pretend not to be worried, but I think these difficult times are here for a reason. Our country is learning valuable lessons and growing; growing pains are painful, but necessary. I think the United States is going to emerge stronger, wiser and better than before, through these experiences. Crises are also opportunities. Let’s hope we make the most of them.
Good news! After weeks of attempting to coddle my sourdough starter into the bubbly white stuff needed to make bread, I finally made my first loaf of (successful) Sourdough bread. Once the starter doubles in size after you feed it a flour/water mixture, the starter is ready to be used. You need to hop to it, or your window of opportunity will pass. When it doubled in size a month ago, I wasn’t “in the mood” to make bread, so it fell and I put it back in the fridge. Mistake! I had no idea I would have to wait another month for this miracle of yeasty bubbles to occur again. This time, when it doubled, I dropped everything to make the holy loaf. It turned out great and came out of the oven just as I was going to dinner at Martha and Luis’s, so I brought it with me. The recipe I used was from The Curious Carrot for Easy Sourdough Bread. Don’t let the name fool you! There’s nothing easy about it.
Martha’s daughter Carolina ordered fresh oysters from #thelazyoyster. Four different delicious varieties were delivered to their door, accompanied with mignonette and cocktail sauces. I would definitely order from The Lazy Oyster again! The variety of oysters varies according to what is flown in fresh. We had Fire Island, Oyster Pond, Violet Cove and Kusshi oysters. Follow them on Instagram at: thelazyoystercompany.
Martha served a delicious lemon pasta with shrimp, which we ate with the sour dough bread and butter. I made chocolate chip cookies with roasted hazelnuts and brown butter for dessert (Oprah magazine recipe), along with lots of champagne and wine. It was a carboholic feast!
The recipe, from Chef Prisinzano, who owns restaurants in New York City, is below. It’s one of the most popular dishes he serves at his restaurant and it’s super easy to make. I got the recipe from Italy on My Mind.
Dried spaghetti, 14 ounces 6 ounces cold butter, sliced in chunks 2 organic lemons, halved 3 ounces grated Parmesan Cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water (it should be salty) to a boil. While it is boiling, prepare your other ingredients. Squeeze the lemon halves through a sieve. Keep the lemon halves. Finely grate the cheese and set aside. Chop the butter. Have a pot on the stove, on low heat.
When the water comes to a boil, drop the spaghetti in, pushing it down using tongs when soft enough to ensure it’s immersed in water. Heat plates on low in oven.
Cook 10 minutes, or until al dente. Turn the second pot’s heat off and place cooked spaghetti in using tongs, reserving pasta water. Add chopped butter, lemon juice and squeezed lemon halves and stir, using a wooden spoon, until creamy, adding more cooking water if needed. Keep stirring until the sauce becomes creamy. Ladle onto warmed plates, with one lemon half as garnish. Top with grated cheese. Chef Prisinzano says you can add spinach, kale, black pepper, red pepper, or herbs to this dish. Martha added shrimp and this is how she did it.
Martha’s Shrimp for Pasta
Broil shrimp with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder at 400 for 8 to 9 minutes, until they are pink and add to pasta.
The meals I made this week were all over the place, but easy was the name of my game. I made a Fresh Vegetable Soup with homemade chicken broth, that I ate for lunch and snacks during the week from the cookbook From Simple to Spectacular by Jean-George Vongerichten and Mark Bittman. I’m not sure where I picked up this book, but I love the concept. It takes one basic recipe (like chicken broth) and gives you four different ways to twist it. For example, the simplest soup was Chicken Soup with parsley puree, the most spectacular Rich Chicken Soup with chestnuts and mushroom ravioli.
I used the chicken I made the chicken stock with to make Mediterranean Chicken Salad from The Silver Palate, a recipe a friend recommended. It was unlike typical chicken salads, since it had no mayonnaise, but instead a vinaigrette, as well as black olives, chopped tomatoes and capers. You’re supposed to serve it with green beans, but since I had none, served it over Romaine lettuce at a picnic I had in the backyard with Wyatt. He ate a PBJ and yogurt and we swam afterwards. Wyatt loves to swim, but he tends to dog paddle. I suggested we get him some swimming lessons to brush up on his strokes.
That sounds like a horrible idea!Wyatt
A friend at The Sanctuary gave us some grouper from a recent fishing trip on Sunday. So, on Monday I topped it with a mayonnaise, pesto, lemon and parmesan cheese blend and baked it. An All Recipe’s recipe, the topping kept it moist and flavorful. I served it with rice and Brussel Sprouts. We met friends at Riviera for Happy Hour on Tuesday for chicken wings and pasta. It was my friend Sharon’s first venture out of the house since the lock-down began.
This is the first time I’ve put on pants that aren’t yoga pants in months. And the first time I’ve put my wedding ring back on.Sharon
We also met other friends at Riviera for dinner Thursday night, although they had been out before. I feel I’ve been experiencing a lot of people’s “First time out” with them, since the Pandemic descended. Does that make me a dare devil? Or an idiot? According to Emma, who sent me an interesting text about masks, probably a bit of both. The bottom line on the text is if both people wear masks, those with Covid and those without, there’s only a 5% chance of it being transmitted.
I made an Oprah magazine recipe for dinner Wednesday- Pasta with Buratta, Pesto and Asparagus. It sounded better and looked better than it tasted. I love pasta, buratta and pesto, so figured I would love it and even added some toasted pine nuts to give it some crunch, but it was kind of just meh. I think it would’ve been better if the pasta was tossed with the pesto, instead of plopped on top. Zeke was not impressed.
Saturday night I made a really good, and easy dinner of Chicken with Basil-Anchovy Butter and Shishito Peppers. It called for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but mine had the skin on. While chicken without skin usually tends to dry out, with this recipe it wouldn’t because you sear the chicken, then add the butter sauce to the top. I served it with Jasmine rice, something bland because the dish has a lot of flavor. I always like a variety of color, so a radish salad or sliced tomato would’ve been welcome here. Recipe below, from Eating Well, July August 2019.
Sunday, was of course, Father’s Day. I made Zeke Eggs Benedict with a grapefruit half for breakfast. Zeke made a special trip down south to Mainzer’s in the Dixie Belle Plaza (probably soon to be renamed), to get Bratwurst and Knockwurst sausages. The owners are older and worried about COVID, so you have to call them, tell them what you want and they’ll bring your order outside. Zeke’s Dad Mort used to serve these sausages, grilled and sliced, at many parties at his house on the Riviera Golf Course, so the sausages were a tribute to him.
Zeke is a meat and potatoes kind of guy so dinner was dry aged Bone-In New York Strips (from Meat and Bone ) grilled on the charcoal grill, Cabernet sautéed mushrooms, baked potatoes with toppings, Caesar salad and garlic bread. Zeke, Emma and I enjoyed dinner in the Family Room (where the roof’s not leaking) and Emma made some Cheesecake bars (The Best and Easiest Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars from thedomesticrebel.com) that were decadent and yummy for dessert. Zeke got a rotisserie for his grill (Rachel), Golf Bag (Emma) and some socks and a book, The Lincoln Conspiracy by Brad Meltzer, from me.
Bad News! Coronavirus is spiking across the US and experts are saying Florida has the making of the next epicenter. According to the reliably sane Dr. Fauci, this is not the second wave but a continuation of the first. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, said this is happening because: “We didn’t complete the social distancing period that we needed to do.” In other words, most states (including Florida) opened up prematurely. According to Hotez, stay-at-home orders should’ve been extended through May. And it’s not just more testing causing the rise in numbers, despite that theory being pushed. “That’s new cases. That’s community spread,” he said.
Monroe County, home to the Florida Keys, reinstated a mandatory mask rule last week, after the free-for-all over the weekend. Florida Covid-19 Cases rose by 4,049 on Saturday, June 20th, the most during the Pandemic, not a distinction we want to have. And it was a record high for the third day in a row in Florida. It makes us look Flori-dumb all over again. So what to do? Wear a mask when out and about (duh!), wash your hands frequently and try not to be out and about at all.
Ugh! Easier said than done, for sure. After months being cooped up like caged birds, most of us are ready to spread our wings and fly free. But we are seeing more and more cases, so weary as we are, this isn’t the time to let our guard down. I am still worried, but I know there are things I can do to protect myself. I love this quote from the Bible.
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin….Be not therefore anxious for the morrow; for the morrow will be anxious for itself.Matthew 6:28-34
And, if you’ve never seen the movie Lilies of the Field, starring Sidney Poitier, watch it! He won an Academy Award for it and when I met him, I mentioned how much I loved him in that movie. Everybody knows him from To Sir with Love, but this story, about a traveler who helps a group of nuns, is a true gem and an upper. Wyatt and I watched Finding Nemo Thursday night, when he slept over. “What’s this movie about?” he asked. “It’s about a Dad who loses his son and does everything he can to find him,” I said. Now that I think about it, an appropriate movie for Father’s Day. Also, the song from top of this blog was in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, another movie (Quentin Tarantino) I love, that I watched the other night.
I haven’t really watched any series on Netflix, or been reading any books. I mostly check my phone constantly for the latest dire predictions; lately, I’ve had the attention span of a gnat. Something is eating my cucumber flowers before they have a chance to become little cucumbers. Despite my hyper vigilance, the flowers keep dropping off. I’m not sure if it’s snails or something else. I will not give up on you cucumbers!
I’m sad about people moving away, from neighbors and aquantainces, to some in my very family, also I’m sad about businesses and restaurants that I loved that are closing; in general life seems to be changing at a rapid pace. But, as they say, change is the only constant in life and when I can’t stop worrying, I need to look at the quote above and, like Dory in Finding Nemo: Just keep swimming.
Up Next: Mango Mania, Food and Wine recipes I Love and Items You Should Always Have in Your Freezer.