Monday, September 26, 2011


So maybe my last post seemed a little sad. A close friend moving away IS sad! But one of the upsides of having friends spread out all over the place is that occasionally they visit and reconnecting with them is pretty wonderful. Knowing you have limited time together creates an urgency that makes everyone talk a little faster, laugh a little more and stay up way, way later than they should.

The other week, our friend Vanessa (of Kitchen Conniption fame) and fiance Trevor paid us a visit and I made dinner for everyone on a Thursday night. Weeknight dinners aren't my favorite thing in the world--all that rushing and post-work exhaustion--but I love Vanessa and Trevor and I knew we'd have more time together if we spent the evening at home rather than being rushed through dinner at a crowded restaurant.

And, you know, I needed to get back on the dinner party wagon.

The short window of time between the end of summer and early fall is amazing for produce and I wanted to make the most of all those beautiful late-season tomatoes and sweet corn. Throw in some deviled eggs, a little grilled steak, some chimichurri, and you've got the perfect summer menu that's quick enough to toss together for a post-work dinner. We sat down at the table and passed around a colorful tomato and mozzarella salad, dug into the buttery sauteed corn. The window was open, blowing in the cool night air. It felt like the perfect convergence of summer and fall.
When we hugged goodbye, close to midnight, I wished we could do this sort of thing all the time with Trevor and Vanessa. But maybe the night was so special because we hardly ever see them. Maybe there's an upside to long-distance friendships.

Late summer dinner
Deviled eggs
Radishes with chive butter
Flank steak with chimichurri sauce
Sauteed corn
Heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella and arugula
Cookie plate

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
From Mark Bittman via Food & Wine
(Serves 4 to 6 people)
2 cups chopped parsley
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 lbs. skirt (or flank) steak 

In a food processor, combine the parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and crushed red pepper. Process until smooth. Pour the sauce into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add extra lemon juice, if needed. 
Season the skirt steak with salt and pepper and grill on a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat, until the meat is charred on the outside and rare within, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a carving board and let it rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain. Serve right away, passing the chimichurri sauce at the table. 
Tomato and mozzarella salad with arugula
(Serves about 4 people)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra
salt and pepper
2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into rounds
2 small plum or other small-sized heirloom tomatoes, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (mixed colors are prettiest)
1 cup mozzarella, either small balls cut in half or one large ball cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups arugula

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the Dijon and vinegar. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking until it emulsifies and forms a nice dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Arrange the large slices of tomatoes on a large platter. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes and smaller tomatoes on top. Add the mozzarella.

Place the arugula in the salad dressing bowl and toss the greens gently until they are coated. Place the greens in a mound in the center of the platter. Drizzle a little extra oil over the tomatoes and sprinkle a little extra salt and pepper.


Daniel said...

I think there should be a rule that each guest has to eat at least two deviled eggs. Otherwise, it makes the host look like a glutton.

Vanessa said...

If I was alone with those deviled eggs, I would have shown a very different side of myself. Sniff, I wish we could hang out all the time!

Vanessa said...

That last part was directed to Lisa and Dan. Not the deviled eggs.

Daniel said...

Well, now you've gone and hurt the deviled eggs' feelings.

Lisa said...

I wish we could hang out an eat deviled eggs all the time too!

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