Weekend Eats (and Drinks)

It was another food-filled weekend at Chez Dietschyblossom… we could also refer to this post as “two breakfasts, a lunch, and three dinners.” First up, Friday:

breakfast

Cool, rainy days call for comfort food, which came in the form of cheesy baked eggs for breakfast, and one of my favorite old standbys for dinner – a creamy, Provencal-style chicken stew:

Dinner:  May 9, 2008

Saturday was all about the seafood. The opening day of this season’s Hope High farmers’ market was short on vendors, but we still scored big:

Matunuck Oyster Farm had, in addition to their usual stellar shellfish, beautiful live lobsters. This guy weighed in at just under 2 lbs. We brought him home for dinner.

We also brought home a pound of clams, and though my initial thought was to either serve them as an appetizer or use them in combination with the lobster for dinner that night, we were cold and hungry, so I ended up steaming them open in a bit of white wine and making a pot of creamy clam chowder.

Our friend the lobster was the star of an inauthentic but very tasty paella. Though I actually own a paella pan, since I was only making enough to feed the two of us I decided to use our trusty cast iron skillet instead, and it worked beautifully.

Dinner:  May 10, 2008

The lobster was incredibly fresh and sweet-tasting, which was accented by the flavors of smoky paprika and rich saffron, and the rice cooked up creamy in the center and crusty on the bottom. Sweet green peas and baby artichokes added a nice touch of springtime to the dish.

We woke to a beautiful morning on Sunday, and though I don’t eat them often, I had a craving for pancakes. I whipped up a batch of batter using this simple recipe from Epicurious.com, and though I found it a little tricky to work with due to how thick it was, the pancakes it produced were just delicious, and even better with a little Rhode Island maple syrup.

snack and sip

After breakfast we headed into our garage storage area and shifted around more boxes, unpacking and finally setting up the rest of our cookbooks and bar books. We set up shelving in the garage and carved out a nice spot to store our extra platters, cocktail glasses, grilling supplies and the like, and then settled down with a cocktail and a snack before dinner.

Dinner:  May 11, 2008

I had planned to wrap these bluefish fillets with pancetta (a nod to a Suzanne Goin recipe) and grill them, but when I opened up the pancetta the slices were so thick there was no way it would work. In the end I placed a slice of pancetta on top of each piece of fish and secured them with cooking twine. Mike placed them in a basket before grilling them over hardwood, and I served them with a big arugula salad with a lemony aioli-type dressing (and extra on the side for the fish). The fish didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped, but the flavors were there, and I’ll definitely play with this recipe again.

Hoping all of you moms and moms-to-be had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and hoping all of you had a great weekend.

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11 thoughts on “Weekend Eats (and Drinks)

  1. Marcos Castrillón says:

    See, discerning what’s a paella and not is quite a challenge.

    A paella, originally, was more a dish cooked in a paella ( a type of skillet) than a singular dish. With time it changed to a rice-based dish, but it should be noted that proper paellas did not include any seafood at all, as they originate from the landside part of Valencia.

    However, while no paella, that looks like a very tasty Arroz con Bogavante.

    PS – You should try my mum’s Clam Stew. Not sure how your heathen clams would replicate the taste, but I’ve tried it with cheapo italian clams, and while not heavenlike, it’s still very tasty indeed.

  2. Jen, was there saffron in your Provencal – with a soft c, :-) – chicken stew? And maybe fennel?? It looks so good.

    And be patient, but what are the…Things. The round things with straws. Hooch? Hoochified yerba mate?

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    angela – I love baked eggs any time of day! And that pancake recipe sounds good, but I’m a little weird about recipes with added sugar. I have absolutely no sweet tooth, and I worry that might not be to my taste? Maybe I’ll give it a whirl sometime, though. :)

    Marcos – Ah, my friend, I was hoping you’d weigh in. Traditionally paella is made with rabbit, correct? That’s something I definitely want to try, and I’m glad I have a more suitable title for my lobster and rice concoction. I’d love to try your mum’s Clam Stew, and I have to say, our “heathen” clams are pretty darned tasty. The ones we got on Saturday had still been in the water that morning, so they were super fresh and sweet.

    Marie – Fennel, leeks, a touch of saffron, Herbes de Provence, tomatoes and a wee bit of creme fraiche at the end. I’m sure it’s in no way authentic. :) And the Things are supposed to be coconuts! They were a gift from a good friend and we just pulled them out for the first time this weekend. Mike was working on a drink for the latest round of Mixology Monday, which he’ll write up soon. There was rum. It was lovely.

  4. Marcos Castrillon says:

    Nobody can agree on what a real paella should contain, every mum and granny has its own recipe, and well, it’s at heart a leftovers or get-everything-off-the-garden dish, so there shouldn’t be a standard.

    The only common ingredients are saffron and rice. Then a meat, either chicken or rabbit plus some veggies (favas are very common, peas a must, carrot and peppers are usually present). There’s no standard even in the liquid component. The cook of the Arrocería I worked at in Valencia used nothing but water. My dad works a mirepoix base until all the veggies disintegrate, then adds water. Most inland Valencianos would kill you if you use rabbit and don’t add mashed garlic and the bun’s liver… And that’s if you discount seafood “paellas” or Black Rice, or the mouth-watering Arrosechat (pink rice) or Arroz con Costra (Custard rice)… Valencianos are the scum of the Earth, but they are masters of rice.

    About the clams. Well, it’s our peculiar geography what makes our seafood special. It’s a very simple preparation. Olive oil, a bit of garlic, a tiny bit of chilli flakes just to give it the tiniest of bites. Add the clams and when they open, add a bit of white wine and water, just enough to cover the end of the skillet, a generous amount of parsely and a bit of flour if the sauce’s too thin. Plate, sprinkle with more parsley.

    As with all the Galician fish based dishes, it’s deceptively simple. You need top notch seafood to carry the dish. You can’t add anything that could masque the main ingredient’s flavour. That’s why most of the preparations usually call for a slight boil or even steaming the seafood.

  5. everything is praiseworthy and beautiful as usual, jennifer. you’re an inspiration.

    “I have absolutely no sweet tooth”

    I don’t either. it inexplicably vanished about 8 years ago. you are the very first person I have heard say the same. coolness.

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  7. kristen says:

    Jennifer,
    Is there another soft cheese that can replace the feta or goat cheese? I’m not (gasp) a fan of goat cheese.
    Thank you!

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