Tag: summertime

branzino

potatoes and grilled branzino

Do people still have house warming parties? I remember going to so many house warmings and open houses as a kid. There would be elaborate buffets of food and a pastor would come and bless the house. I was taught to formally greet adults when we’d go out. I would greet any and every adult I saw at these open houses. It was funny to hear them tell me how much I had grown, especially because I’m sure they didn’t have a clue who I was. Like seriously, I don’t know you! HAHA. Last summer, my friend and I went for a hike in Patapsco Park and we ran into a woman who looked like my other friend’s mom. We went over to say hello and she was like ‘oh you’re here, it’s great to see you, have a good hike.’ As soon as we walked away from her, my friend and I turned to each other ‘Uh, that wasn’t her mom! HAHA. Who was that?’ Anyway, as an adult, I feel like I’ve only been to one or two house warming parties. Maybe it’s not as big a deal anymore. When we moved into our current house, we didn’t have a formal house warming. Our first guest was my mom. We prepared a lovely meal and had her over for lunch. This is a photo from that day. (more…)

pork roast dinner

roast pork dinner 1

I’ve been feeling a little homesick for Ireland these past few days. Am I allowed to use the word ‘homesick’ if I’ve never actually lived there? I’ve visited there so many times, it’s like I’ve lived there. Seriously, nearly every page of my passport has green ink on it! I should really just get an Irish passport already, I hate waiting in the Non-EU line at customs! I tried going through with Kevin before, but nope, they accepted him and I was told to go back into the Non-EU line. So I waited and waited and when I finally reached the Customs official, he asked me where my husband was. Next time Kevin, you’re waiting with me! I don’t know where this sudden longing to be back in Ireland is coming from. Maybe it’s because we’ve been drinking loads of Barry’s Tea and we don’t have proper biscuits and snacks to have with it. HAHA. Maybe it’s because we know we won’t be traveling much this year and that makes me miss my in-laws a bit more than usual. But anyways, this desire to be in Ireland has inspired me to cook Irish dishes all week. Sometimes, I feel bad for only making Korean or Italian dishes at home. Meat and potatoes have turned into kimchi and rice or pasta and salads in this house. So I dedicate this week to you my dear. I’ll cook all your favorite dishes, save for Steak and Kidney Pie. I still haven’t a clue how to make that. (more…)

petit louis bistro columbia

I’m not one of those people you’d usually find at grand openings for things. But when I heard The Whole Foods Market in Columbia, MD was finally opening its doors, I couldn’t resist…I tried, but somehow around lunch time, I found myself there. I came up with a clever way to trick Kevin into going with me. We had a morning meeting in Baltimore City and on our way home I “suggested” we go for an early lunch somewhere. We haven’t been to Iron Bridge Wine Company in Ellicott City, MD for some time so we thought we’d head there towards Howard County.

“…actually, Kevin…we haven’t had Petit Louis Bistro in a while either…mmm I could go for a Quiche Lorraine. A nice brunchy lunch. Doesn’t that sound good today? …And maybe if we have time we can quickly drive by Whole Foods and see if it’s really busy, I mean it’s just right by there…and if it’s not too busy maybe we could go in…OMG You know what? We’re out of Raisin Bran…” INCEPTION! I’m such a genius! 😉 (more…)

zucchini blossoms

blossoms from the market

Do you know what these beautiful flowers are? They’re squash/zucchini blossoms and boy are they delicious! I remember buying them a few summers ago at the Roots Market in Clarksville, MD. They showcase seasonal produce from local farms at various times throughout the year. They might get in a few dozen zucchini blossoms, a handful of garlic scapes, a few dozen patty pan squash and so on. And when they’re gone, they’re gone for the season. We don’t live so close to Clarksville anymore so we aren’t able to frequent Roots as often. We probably missed out on the blossoms delivery this summer. If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that I’ve been shopping at the local farmers markets a lot this year. I should really join a CSA. I had been searching for them all summer without much success. Every week I’d pick up a few zucchini or yellow squash and then it came to me. Surely these farms must have loads of blossoms growing out on the fields. I decided to write to a few local farmers to see if they could help me out. (more…)

Maryland crabs – part 2

dozen large crabs

Summer’s coming to an end folks! (Sorry! I know I know, saying it out loud makes it more real. I can’t believe this summer’s almost over. Seeing signs for ‘Back-to-School’ is nuts!) For those of you who haven’t enjoyed Maryland blue crabs yet this season, there’s no better time than right now to head out and grab a dozen or two. A good friend of ours recently came to visit us from NYC. Her one request – Maryland crabs! This time we went to Cantler’s Riverside Inn in Annapolis, MD. Fantastic crab house for the entire family. It’s right on the water and it has a dock with its own filling station for passing boats. You can even see the crabs being sorted below, it’s a bit (ok, more than a bit) smelly but the kids find it fascinating. We arrived at Cantler’s around 11:30 on a Saturday, and although the place was filling up quickly we managed to get seated outside without a wait. They offer an all-you-can-eat option, but we ordered a dozen large and lots of sides – fries, onion rings, hush puppies, clam strips and sweet local corn – and of course a round of ice cold Natty Bo’s.

We’ve had crabs a few times this summer at Harris Crab House on Kent Island, Hooper’s in Ocean City, MD, my brother’s house with a bushel from Sea King in Ellicott City, MD, and a dozen or two from Sea Hut Inn in Catonsville, MD. But each time, I dived right into the meal and forgot all about my promise to post a ‘how-to’ on opening and eating crabs. So, this post is dedicated to just that – How I open crabs. (more…)

pasta alla norma

rigatoni alla norma

One thing I look forward to every week is making lunch for my mom at our house. I think she loves it too! 😉 She’s a pretty busy lady, so in the short time we have together I make sure to prepare a lovely 3 course meal – starter, main and dessert. This way, I know she’ll leave with a full and happy belly. Oh and I always send her off with a hot cappuccino to-go. I literally buy those disposable coffee cups with lids from Costco, just for her cappuccinos.

Two weeks ago, I made my mom a fresh zucchini salad, pasta all norma (eggplant spaghetti) and fruit salad of peaches, nectarines and plums. (All made from seasonal produce from the farmers market.) She liked the zucchini salad so much I made it again when the whole family was over for lunch. Although the eggplant spaghetti was tasty and looked pretty, I wasn’t completely satisfied with it. I was short on time and skipped 2 important steps in the recipe and well, while the eggplant should’ve broken apart and become creamy in texture, it remained intact and was quite watery. She didn’t seem to mind, but I told myself I’d have to make it properly for her the next time. (more…)

bruschetta

lovedove tomatoes

Now that you’ve made the ciabatta from yesterday, all you need are juicy sweet tomatoes. These are the tomatoes I picked up after lunch at the Love Dove Farm stall at the Howard County Farmers Market. Aren’t they just gorgeous? I grabbed a pint of Sun Gold tomatoes and a pint of Black Cherry tomatoes. I could snack on them all day.

Farm stalls are overflowing with all different tomato heirlooms and varieties during the summer. Once you’ve tried fresh picked tomatoes off the vine, the ones you find year round in the supermarkets won’t do. It’s hard for me not to pick up a pint or two when I’m out at the farmers market. When using such delicious produce like farm fresh tomatoes, it’s best to keep whatever dish you’re making as simple as possible. You want the natural sweetness and bright flavors to shine. A great dish to show off summer tomatoes is Bruschetta. Here are a few different ways I dress my tomatoes. (more…)

raspberry meringue roulade

roulade 3I’m not big on desserts but make me something with meringue and I will gobble it up. We tend to serve lots of meringue based desserts at our dinner parties. It’s easy to make and you can find all the ingredients in your pantry – egg whites, sugar, vanilla, heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar. Sometimes we also add in cornstarch and vinegar depending on the recipe.

Growing up, I only knew meringues to be used in two desserts – lemon meringue pie and baked alaskas, which we almost never had. In my house, we were served fresh fruit after meals. Then I met Kevin. Let’s just say he has a separate stomach for desserts! 😉 I thank him for introducing me to all sorts of delicious sweets and treats that I otherwise would not have tried like Christmas trifle, pavlova, vanilla slice napoleons, stewed apple with victoria sponge drizzled with creme anglaise, eton mess and meringue roulade. Ah meringue roulade, how delicious you are! (more…)

Italian afternoons with family

affettati misti

Over the weekend my brother invited us over to Ocean City to spend the day with his family – swimming, eating and taking in the … rain! The weather wasn’t the best, but when you’re with good company, it doesn’t really matter. We got in some waves, lounged by the pool, walked the boardwalk, ate loads of crabs and made new memories, especially with my nephews. Those cute little guys are growing up so fast! The other day I thought to myself ‘how weird would it be when they’re old enough to drink.’ Can you imagine? ‘Wanna grab a beer uncle Kevin?’ WHAT?!?! 😉 I’m getting carried away, they’re only in elementary school!!! HAHA.

To thank them for their hospitality, we invited them over for lunch. I had originally planned to make 3 pasta dishes, but Kevin suggested we do some meats, salad and pasta instead. Good call Kevin, but I couldn’t let him have the last word. So to compromise, I made a meat plate, a salad, and TWO pastas! We opened a really nice bottle of Amarone wine and enjoyed a lovely Italian themed lunch. Good food, great company and fabulous wine. That’s how we do it! 😀 (more…)

spring onion pasta with breadcrumbs

plating sp pasta 1

What a beautiful day! Today as soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed, went downstairs, opened all the windows then put on the kettle. Kevin asked ‘Who are you and what did you do with my wife?’ HAHA. Maybe I’ll even go for a light jog around the neighborhood…that’ll give Kevin an even bigger shock! Most of you will be reading this thinking…isn’t it normal to wake up when the alarm goes off? Of course it is! I just like to set my alarm a half hour early and hit snooze a few times, that’s all 😉

We’ve been eating pretty heavy lately, thought I’d make something light for lunch today (and the fabulous weather makes me crave a summery pasta). I should really learn to balance my meals. I doubt a light herby pasta will negate the 8 plates of Chinese food, jerk chicken and Korean braised short ribs we had over the past few days! But maybe if I keep telling myself it does…it actually will! 😉

I usually make light herby pastas to accompany fish, but it’s just as delicious served on its own. Like spaghetti aglio olio peperoncino, when I can’t decide what to eat, I make spring onion spaghetti. It’s easy peasy and really hits the spot. We also had some leftover baguette so I whizzed it up in the food processor and made ‘pan grattato’ or breadcrumbs. (more…)