Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Drinking Beer @ Noon on Tuesday

Ever since Sheryl Crow released "All I Wanna Do" in 1994, my dear Moose and I vowed we would take a cue from the song's lyrics and try "drinking beer at noon on Tuesday" one day. Well, finally after so many years, while on vacation together, we set it up that we would belly up and do just that, timed down to the minute. Armed with PBR Pounders, it turns out that we both highly recommend "a good beer buzz early in the morning." 

Cheers everybody!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Linguine with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

I've been making Trenette col Pesto Genovese for years, toiling over the homemade pesto; boiling and peeling the potatoes; grating the Parmesan myself. Baby and I wanted a simple Sunday lunch recently, over a glass, or two, of a crisp white wine--so I cut to the chase and made the whole thing in about a half an hour. An accompanying, spirited salad composed of just lettuces and a resolute vinaigrette was entirely enterprising!

The actual recipe from Saveur is here. I found a good ready made pesto (or a pre-packaged brand name pesto such as Buitoni might work as well, I imagine) and added in already grated cheese to it. A bag of microwavable haricot vert green beans were ready in a snap. Instead of peeling the potatoes and boiling them, I purchased a can of Gefen whole potatoes, which I think are quite good! The Del Monte variety is also surprising.

So here's what to do: while the water for the 1lb. of pasta gets to a boil, halve the potatoes and broil them with a drizzle of olive oil until nicely browned. Mix the cheese into the pesto sauce. While cooking the pasta in salted water, put the beans in the microwave for the required 2-3 minutes and let sit to cool for a minute or so before handling. Strain the pasta, reserving a 2 tbsp. of the pasta water to bind the sauce, drain the oil from the potatoes and toss all of the ingredients together, adding the delicate potatoes in at the end. Top with more of the grated Parmesan, grind some black pepper to it and done! Here we have something that is truly elegant and yet quite hearty--and was just as delicious as it would have been had I doubled the time and effort. Although our Trenette col Pesto Genovese may be served anytime, I usually only make anything involving wildly evocative basil in the summer.

Do enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grillin' and Chillin'

Isn't it just awful when a holiday falls in the middle of a week? Baby had just returned from job-related travel on top of it so he gratefully took the Wednesday break just the same--but our celebration was very low-key and in town this year. We thought it best just to entertain a few people over the course of the sprawling afternoon--which included a handful of fun surprise guests too! We took them up to the sundeck and toasted our Independence with a bottle of slightly frizzante rose that brightly lit up the gorgeous, lazy day. Later that night, those remaining with us returned to watch the fireworks exploding across the Hudson river.

Hamburgers and hot dogs were the order of the day of course, with potato salad, Fritos, and lots of vodka tonics poured about. We had grape, cherry and orange popsicles for dessert. Baby was in charge of the meat, using our Cuisinart Griddler Gourmet in the kitchen like we actually had an outdoor grill and a back yard.

Juicy Pat LaFreida burgers were sprinkled with the fantastic Back of the Yards garlic pepper-butcher's rub from The Spice House. The beefy Hebrew National franks frolicked with butter. This little gadget with two functioning panels makes it so easy to cook two things simultaneously. It's also a panini press.

As I am wont to do, whatever the occasion, I set to my table with vigor. Inspired by an issue of Gourmet magazine from 1994, I created a spread of red, white, and blue with shells and plastic lobsters, and a vintage diving helmet ice bucket from an old Gilbey's gin promotion, I think. Here's one similar in its full glory that I found on eBay. Isn't it gorgeous?

There was a tube of sunscreen too, naturally, for our Fourth of July Sailing Picnic!

Prepping the table, as you can see, with...

red, white...

 and blue!

I suppose this hollowed log is for stashing jewelry or something, but I stuck forks in it.

I left the copy of Gourmet that launched my flight of fancy next to the diving helmet ice bucket as well.

Look at the curious lobsters trying to get to the buns and rolls--the burgers and hot dogs weren't even out yet! The delicious Grafton cheddar cheese and pickles were for the burgers and amidst our other relish and ketchup condiments, Baby made his own mustard.

This potato salad is great. Thank you Fresh Direct.

And who doesn't love popsicles?

Happy Fourth of July everybody and thanks for reading Evenings with Peter!

Soundtrack: Music to Watch Girls By, Disc 2, various artists; Dimitri from Paris, Sacre Bleu; Deee-Lite, World Clique; Boogie Nights soundtrack; B-52's, Party Mix

Friday, July 6, 2012

Next Magazine - Pimm's Cooler

Why wait for Wimbledon? Elan Zafir is already shaking it up with a twist on a celebratory Pimm’s Cup at Park Bar, just off of Union Square in Manhattan. Do try this at home!

Pimm’s Cooler
1 1/2 oz Pimm’s
1 oz Hendricks Gin
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
Tonic water

Pour ingredients over ice and shake. Serve all in a highball glass, top with tonic water and revel in a long sip of summer.

Park Bar is located at 15 E 15th St, New York, NY. Call 212-367-9085 for more info.

First published in part in Next magazine.