Thursday, May 12, 2011

recipes of the weekend

it was my time to host book club this month, and after spending so much time outside working on the new patio, spending time in a hot kitchen wasn't high on my to-do list. it was a glorious weekend in atlanta, so i opted for a low-fuss summer-friendly meal.

on the menu:
homemade pimento cheese sandwiches on rosemary sourdough
heirloom tomato, basil [fresh from the garden], + mozzarella on ciabatta rolls
broccolini pasta salad with ricotta salata + thyme [fresh from the garden]
ribboned asparagus salad with lemon
homemade ice pops: raspberry/agave/yogurt + grapefruit basil [fresh from the garden]

as you can tell, it's also an excuse to use some of my very own crops!!
[very first basil crop]

pimento cheese
i basically followed this classic recipe + made it my own with a dash of garlic powder. i used the food processor to grate the cheese + mix all of the ingredients. super simple.
[pimento cheese on rosemary sourdough]

i oversalted the batch + tried to balance it out by adding more cheese. not sure it was 100%--though none of my bookclubber pals said a word. bless them for grinning and eating it.

i served them on rosemary sourdough from whole foods, and it was tasty!

caprese sandwiches
i sprayed the rolls with olive oil + constructed the sandwich layers: basil, sliced ovaline mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes. easy peasy.
[heirloom caprese on ciabatta]
the most complicated part of this sandwich was the 2nd trip to the store to pick up replacement bread. lula pulled the original ones off the counter while we were at a kentucky derby part on saturday night. we didn't realize it for several hours when we came home + finally found the remnants tucked into the sofa cushions. turns out ciabatta isn't really her fave, as there were loaves hidden everywhere.

pasta salad
this one came to me via my mother-in-law. she made it for family dinner last weekend when zenn was in town for BB's birthday weekend. she sweetly left the recipe at my house so it was top-of-mind, + i had most of the ingredients still fresh!

as a time-saver, you can steam the broccolini in a metal colander while you boil the pasta. i love efficiency!
[pasta with broccolini, ricotta salata, + grape tomatoes]

the thyme was from the garden. there's just something about fresh hand-picked herbs. these little herb snips i've had came in super handy, not just for snipping the thyme + basil, but also for stripping the thyme from the stems.
[herb snips from williams-sonoma]
 i chilled it until time to serve.

ribboned asparagus
this was my "experiment" of the menu, as i'd made/tasted everything else at least some point before. i saw this on smitten kitchen this week and it spoke to me as a refreshing, fresh option to pair with the sammich fare.
[ribboned asparagus with lemon]
it was delicious. i found that using the thick asparagus stalks worked much better than the thinner variety. luckily, i'd bought the big suckers at whole foods. also, i learned that GENTLY peeling the ribbons reduced the breakage versus when i tried using more force. when i was tougher with the stalks, they'd split once they'd been whittled down.

this was definitely a hit! thanks smitten kitchen!!!!!!!!!

ice pops
these were an experiment too. i didn't have popsicle molds, so i used these oversized silicone ice cube trays from crate + barrel.
[jumbo ice molds from c+b]
for the pomegranate flavor, i followed this recipe from the kitchn. i substituted agave nectar for the honey. i also attempted to swirl them, without much success. the yogurt mixture just sorta clumped. they were tasty, but not as pretty as they could be. next time, i'd probably pre-mix all of the ingredients for an even flavor, otherwise the pom is kinda tart.

for the grapefruit basil, i made it up. i was inspired by a similarly delicious pop from atlanta's own king of pops. i used fresh grapefruit juice [from the store, i didn't squeeze it] and basil [from the garden]. i chopped the basil, placed in the trays, + filled with juice. these were super duper tart. i will definitely dilute with water next go round.

about an hour after placing these into the freezer, i inserted wooden popsicle sticks + left to freeze for 8 hours or so.

they were easily removed from the silicone trays after running a little warm water over the trays. i served them in ice cream dishes since they were HUGE. definitely a learning experience, but a refreshing summer treat i'm sure we'll have throughout the summer.
[pomegranate agave pops + grapefruit basil pops]

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