I love summer. For a whole host of reasons, not the least of which being that I actually have the time and energy to cook dinner! Over the past 4 nights, we’ve tried 3 new recipes and 1 new restaurant, and all have been pretty successful experiences.
On Saturday, we made prosciutto and provolone and basil, rolled up in a chicken paillard and then grilled. Sounds fancy, right? Well, it also took a really long time and a lot of pounding. Chris was not amused. It was a good meal, but I doubt we’ll make it again in the near future. I whipped up a pretty yummy little pasta salad to go with it, though. That’s a keeper.
Sunday, we tried the dressing portion of Aarti’s recipe for calamari and nectarine salad, but we used it on fish. I’m a little too squeamish to cook calamari–I got uncomfortable just watching her make sure they were cleaned. No thank you. But the flavor was great on the fish, too!
Monday, we celebrated! I passed my Masters exam, our friend Shu completed her PhD, and Chris started a new job. One of Shu’s friends also completed his PhD that day, so a group of 10 of us went out to the Grand Concourse. I had never been, but it was spectacular. It used to be an old train station, and the inside architecture is just gorgeous–so elegant! It was a bit expensive, but it was a grand celebration. I got a crabcake and coconut macadamia encrusted shrimp, which was fanstastic. Their creme brulee for dessert was also pretty fabulous, but I’m a sucker for creme brulee of all kinds.
Then, last night, I went back to Aarti’s inspiration and tried her Banh-mi wraps–a Vietnamese grilled pork and vegetables wrapped up in a tortilla. I’ll admit, I was a little leery about the pickled carrots and the entire sprigs of cilantro–I thought it might be overpowering, but I pledged to make the recipe as faithfully as I could the first time around, and if we disliked a portion of it, I could tweak it later. Well, this recipe is a winner! The pork was fabulous–a sweet, earthy kind of flavor that went really well with the freshness of the cucumbers and just a little bit of bite from the vinegar in the carrots. (We left out the jalepenos, because I’m a baby about things like that. I didn’t miss it.) We could taste each component–but everything worked well together. I can’t wait for the leftovers, and I’m definitely making this again!
(The picture is actually fairly disappointing. I uploaded it and wanted to protest–that’s not what it looked like! The colors were crisper, more vivid. Everything looked fresh and appetizing. But this is all I got, so it will suffice.)