Sunday, August 15, 2010

Soaking up summer fun!

This weekend, like most weekends as of late, flew right on by.  We were suppose to go camping from Thursday through Sunday at a beautiful national park in Maryland with free roaming wild horses but mother nature had other plans.  After following the weather by the second on Thursday, we decided to nix the camping plans and drive out to Ocean City Saturday, since our friend pulled some strings and delivered a breath taking suite at the Hilton.  So that leaves my Friday free. Freeing particularly inspired I decide to have a micro mini dinner party, consisting of The Suitor and his friend. So what's on the menu?
Mint & Pea Soup
Roasted Beets & Arugula Salad w/ Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Basil
Braised Pork Chops in a Dijon Apple Sauce

Ocean City Maryland was great. We got to soak some sun, learn how to pick apart and eat Maryland crabs (can cross that one off my bucket list) and explore local eateries. Unfortunately I don't have pictures. :(  We were too busy getting our hand dirty picking apart and eating crab.  Crabs I feel are like artichokes. There's a lot of waste but once that part is over with, you are left with the most beautiful, tender sweetest meat, that your mouth will be performing somersaults. 

Aside from that we also took a tour of what would have been our camping grounds. I have to admit, it was truly an amazing spot. Not at all like your traditional camping trips, you are out on a beach surrounded by the finest, almost powder like sand and wild horses.  (Scroll below for pics) 

We also somehow also managed to squeeze in another trip before the summer is over. This time to MIAMI!  So here is how the rest of my summer into early fall look: 

Aug 19 - 22: DC
Sept 3 - 6: Maine
Sept 17 - 19: NY
Sept 24 - 26: Miami
Oct 1 - 4: Ft. Lauderdale


Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Basil
There's nothing I love more in the summer than roasted or grilled tomatoes. Tomatoes are at their peak this time of the season and grilling them for a few minutes just elevates the natural juices within to perfection! And sprinkling a few pieces of sweet basil guarantees an operatic moment!

1 medium shallot diced 
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

In a medium skillet heat the olive oil and sauté the shallots  until tender (3-4 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook mildly on low to medium heat. Salt & pepper to taste add couple of leaves of basil.  Garnish with additional basil prior to serving. Can be served chilled or straight off the grill.

Mint & Pea Soup

2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 cups frozen peas
1 bunch of mint
3 cups veggie broth
salt & pepper
heavy cream (optional)

1) Melt the butter and olive oil in a large pot and sautee onions and garlic until tender. Add the 3/4 of the peas, stock and couple of sprigs of mint and salt & pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
2) Pour the soup into a blender or food processor and add remaining peas as well as a sprig of mint.  Puree the mixture until velvety smooth.  
3) soup can be served chilled or warm. Prior to serving, garnish the soup with a table spoon of heavy cream and olive oil!

Picture prior to puree!

Roasted Beets & Arugula Salad w/ Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

Red onion

1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 cup EVOO
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the mustard, honey, vinegar and salt & pepper in a blender or whisk together by hand. While whisking or blending slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue whisking until the vinaigrette is thoroughly combined.

Roasted Beets:
To roast beets, combine them in a casserole dish with salted water filled 3/4 of the way and roaste on 400 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Allow the beets to cool completely and peel prior to assembling the salad.

Combine the arugula with thinly sliced onions, cubed beets and drizzle with the dijon mustard dressing prior to serving.

Braised Pork Chops in a Dijon Apple Sauce
This recipe is far simpler than it sounds and is sure to be a crowd pleaser! It's a quick protein dish for a dinner party any size!

3 Pork Chops
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp Dried Rosemary
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 plus 1/3 cup Apple Cider
Salt & Pepper

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees and season the chops with salt and pepper generously.
2) In an oven safe skillet add olive oil and the seasoned chops. Sauté 4 minutes on each side and remove.
3) In the same skillet combine the apple cider, rosemary, dijon, brown sugar and soy sauce. Reduce the mixture and re-introduce the chops to the skillet, covering generously with the glaze.
4) Transfer the chops to the oven for 15 minutes. The salt will thicken further and enhance the flavor of the chops.
5) Let the chops rest for 3-4 minutes prior to serving, allowing the juices within to settle.

Picture - prior to the time the finished product rolled around, we were too hungry...even for a quick snapshot   =P  

Wild pony blocking traffic

Park ranger trying to get the pony off the road...quite unsuccessful!

More wild horses...and me!
Why did the horse cross the road?

To get to The Suitor! He's hard to keep your hands off of!  :D

Camping grounds

The Suitor and I on the camp grounds looking onto the view!

Sunset on the ground!

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. this is related to your blog as a whole, but i think your blog will save me when i'm cooking for myself in Copenhagen! I am a closet cook, but I can't wait to start experimenting.

    Also, great pics!! :)