Accidental Restaurant Night

July 25th, 2011 · 10 Comments · Dinner, Pork and Beef, Posts by Andy

Something rare and wonderful happened about a month ago: both — BOTH — of our daughters were invited to a birthday party, on Saturday night from 6:00-8:00. That’s two hours. On a Saturday night. Which was on Saturday. Which is the day that immediately follows Friday, which is also a good day, but not nearly as good as the one that follows it. Saturday! Can I tell you how much I love whichever kind, compassionate person in the birthday house was responsible for that decision? Because of them, we found ourselves on an early summer night with two full hours to enjoy a grown-up dinner with our friends Todd and Anne. Two hours isn’t enough time to go to a restaurant and be back in time for the kids, maybe, but it’s plenty enough time to cook up something good at home, and eat in peace.

That afternoon, Jenny and I raced around shopping and spent way too much money on two gratuitous steaks, a bunch of fava beans, a baguette, and a big bag of assorted, odd-looking mushrooms. By 5:45, the grill had been lit, and the favas had been peeled, boiled, smashed, and smeared on toasts. Todd and Anne got a babysitter and came over at 6:00 sharp, and we had a drink like adults, without having to shout over The Penguins of Madagascar. We sat outside. We drank good wine. We threw a cast iron skillet on the grill, and cooked the mushrooms with some olive oil, salt, thyme, and garlic. We sliced the baguette and brushed it with olive oil, and grilled it, too. We cooked two beautiful steaks, and drove the dog crazy. We sat down to eat at the kitchen table, and there may have even been candle, napkins (a true rarity in our house), and matching plates involved. I love our kids, I really do, but this? This was nice. The food turned out pretty well, but the entree was the star. Turns out, a couple of thick, marbled steaks, doused with tons of salt and cracked peppercorns, cooked over a hot fire, are absurdly tasty. And easy. And when cooked right, with a slight crunch on the outside — and a juicy, medium rare in the middle — are just about as good as anything you’ll find in a restaurant. So who wants to host the next birthday party? – Andy (more…)

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In Stock

August 4th, 2010 · 6 Comments · Dinner, Pork and Beef, Time for Dinner: The Cookbook

I never knew how beautiful the words “In Stock” could look. Until I saw them under our cookbook which, according to readers and friends, is now being delivered to your homes and bookstores around the country. This is part of the note that just arrived in my inbox from Christina in Oregon:

…Now the reason for this email. Um…….THANK YOU! Thank you and your co-authors for this compilation. I consider myself an average to better than average cook and can confidently say I know my way around the kitchen. What you managed to do is allow me to see my kitchen anew…..I love the entire book but especially the I WANT TO HAVE A FAMILY DINNER WHERE WE ALL EAT THE SAME MEAL, and your I WANT SOMETHING SIMPLE, FAST AND HARD TO SCREW UP chapters. Using a muffin tin to make meals more enticing for kids, clearing out the fridge and dishing it up as an appealing smorgasbord, using the waffle iron for grilled cheese sandwiches? None of this is rocket science, none of it requires extra work from me, it’s all there right in front of me and yet I didn’t see it until you pointed it out to me. I could go on and on but I want to save it for the amazon review.  Thank you and your collaborators for the wonderful gem Time for Dinner has turned out to be.

In honor of this day — and in honor of Christina…Bless you, Christina — I wanted to share a recipe from “Chapter 5: I Want to Use What I Already Have.” Well sort of. This is a slightly different version of the steak-and-chard hash in Time for Dinner, but it’s every bit as awesome. Why? For starters, the meal takes advantage of the (more…)

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