Why I love being married to a chef, Part II

This was my dinner a few nights ago, served al fresco on our new patio!

Little gem salad w/ feta dressing, grilled corn and Calabrian chiles

Little gem salad w/ feta dressing, grilled corn and Calabrian chiles

Grilled & Smoked Poussin with "crazy water" and purslane

Grilled & smoked poussin with “crazy water” and purslane

Backyard Sunset

Backyard Sunset

A Very Martha Memorial Day, Part 1: The Savory

Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese

Martha Stewart’s Macaroni and Cheese

While in reality I may not strive to be totally like her, I can say with complete honesty that I really love Martha Stewart. I think it’s awesome that she came out of prison missing fresh lemons the most. And the fact that she can make a crumb cake with Ludacris and bake brownies with Snoop Dogg just endears me further. Martha seems to be able to bounce back — better than ever — no matter what happens to her and I admire that.

I also admire her seemingly always perfect recipes. There’s a reason the woman is an internationally famous domestic goddess. I haven’t ever had a recipe of hers turn out sub-par, which is why I chose several of them for our (pre*) Memorial Day party.

*My MO for Memorial Day (and Labor Day) is to host a BBQ on the Sunday prior. This is useful in case people have already made plans for Monday and it allows me to spend that day recouping and relaxing instead of entertaining. It’s a win/win strategy that I highly suggest.

Anyways, my husband wanted to do a traditional “Americana-style” BBQ. This means he was in charge of the grill — a task he took to happily, deciding to smoke a rather hefty (13 pound) beef brisket over apple wood. Here’s a sneak peek:

Applewood Smoked Beef Brisket

Applewood Smoked Beef Brisket

Oh yeah…it was serious!

I, on the other, took control of the side dishes. My husband had mentioned wanting mac and cheese so I used this recipe of Martha’s, which has a cult-like following online with commenters referring to it as “crackaroni” since it’s impossible to quit eating. Totally accurate name by the way, I actually had to pry myself away from the pan.

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Before summer is gone…

This week I noticed it’s getting dark by 8 o’clock and you can feel a certain chill to the air. My driveway is littered with fallen leaves, I have begun to see Halloween candy in the supermarket and I finally had to start using a bike light for my evening commute.

These things terrify me because it means that fall is approaching. Now I have no problem with autumn — we get along okay. I like the changing of colors and snuggling up on the couch with my kitties while a chicken roasts in the oven. My problem with fall is that winter is close behind it, and well, let’s just say it’s my least favorite season.

But before I get too sad, there’s still some leftovers from summer here to enjoy. One of my favorite things is tomatoes — delicious, sweet, warm tomatoes. Growing up in Alaska, I had no idea how good a tomato could be until I moved to Oregon. I was astonished.

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Seeing Green: Salsa Verde

We had some friends over last weekend for a BBQ/wine drinking extravaganza. My husband and I had just reached our 5-year anniversary and thought there was no better way to celebrate than with some good wine, great food and even better company. So surrounded by some of our closest friends, we dined on a simple, but elegant dinner fueled by the power of vino.

A Ponzi pinot party!

The star of the show (well besides the magnum of 1996 Pinot Noir Reserve from Ponzi — given to us at our wedding, which was held at Ponzi Vineyards) was undoubtedly the steak. I bought it from work — a lovely grass-fed Uruguayan beef flap that only needed salt, pepper and a nice hot grill.

But no matter how delicious the meat is, I always feel like it needs some sort of sauce. Keeping with the idea of fresh and easy, I talked my husband into making salsa verde — one of my summer-time favorites. Salsa verde is a blend of finely chopped herbs, with capers, lemon and anchovies added help bring it all together.

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Grilled Calzones: A dinner for winners!

A few weeks ago my friend Oliver and I decided to make dinner together and watch some Battlestar Galactica, our latest TV obsession. Since it was a weekend, we decided to be a bit more adventurous with our meal and as we were tossing some ideas around, inspiration suddenly hit. I had recently read a post on one of my new favorite blogs “Dinner for Winners” that involved grilled calzones. Which sounds pretty damn perfect to both of us.

Things started off innocently enough. We had a good spread of fillings: pesto, marinara, chicken, tomatoes, goat cheese, salami, mozzarella and caramelized onions. We had some dough, charcoal and a pizza stone.

I got the coals going, set the stone on the grill and then we got to work.

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Last-Minute Grilled Eggplant

If you’ve come here looking for a delicious fried chicken sandwich, click here instead: http://attemptsindomesticity.com/2013/04/16/adventures-in-fried-chicken-recreating-the-cover/
Bon Appetit’s blog used the wrong link!

So I’ve mentioned before that my friend DB and I have a standing date almost every Saturday to cook together. Sometimes we have a well-thought-out game plan of what we want to make and other times we fly by the seat of our pants. Both have the potential for failure or success.

The last time we got together, we succeeded fantastically. And even though we had a basic idea of what to make, one of the best things we prepared was almost an after thought. The menu was fairly simple, Korean-style grilled shortribs and some grilled zucchini. Which if you haven’t made these shortribs yet, you really need to do it now! They are so ridiculously good! Here’s a post with the how-to basics and a few recipe ideas. And here’s a picture for inspiration, of course!

But we needed something else to snack on so the wheels started turning. DB had brought over an eggplant so while he cooked it on the grill, I ran to the kitchen to see what else we could add to it.

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