Parties and Pools

July 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Crazy, unexpected, delightful, summer weekend.  The rain had us changing plans, but funny how the changed plans always turn out to be the best.

Saturday snack time with Prestyn consisted of kids-temp Vanilla Steamers with Banana Bread and Blueberry Bread.


Vince and I tried Bow and Truss‘ Cold Brew over ice on Sunday afternoon.  Yum!


Sunday dinner was right out of our Weber Big Book of Grilling.  This chicken was amazing!  You could skip the goat cheese if you’re eliminating dairy from your diet.  The flavors are jammed packed in this stuffing.

Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ounce dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon , crushed Red Pepper Flakes
7 ounces Artichoke Hearts
2 teaspoons minced Fresh Garlic
Kosher Salt
1 ounce freshly ground black
3 dozens fresh Goat Cheese, crumbled
1 2/3 ounces minced Sun-Dried Tomatoes (oil-packed)
3 2/3 ounces finely chopped fresh Basil Leaves 4 large boneless Organic Free-Range Chicken Breast
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
1 freshly ground Black Pepper

TO MAKE THE STUFFING: In a medium sauté pan combine the olive oil, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Set the pan over medium-high heat to warm the mixture for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain, rinse, and coarsely chop the artichokes and add along with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Add the goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. Mix to evenly distribute the ingredients and allow to cool.

Rinse the chicken breasts under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place each breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and, with a meat mallet or the back of small pan, pound to flatten to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Place the breasts, skin side down, and spread each one with a quarter of the stuffing. Fold the breasts in half over the stuffing and use toothpicks to skewer the sides closed. Brush or spray both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the breasts over Direct Medium heat until the meat juices run clear and the cheese is melted, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Remove from the grill and carefully remove the toothpicks. Serve warm.

From Weber’s Big Book of Grilling.


Came across this recipe on the front cover of the new Food and Wine magazine.  I asked Owynn how it looked to him and well, he wasn’t so excited…but I was.  He tried it anyway.

I used Red Mill Hull-Less Barley for this recipe and it turned out great.


Lemony Barley Salad with Kale Pesto

  • 1 cup pearled barley (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup currants (I didn’t have currants, so used cranberries instead)
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 6 ounces kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into small pieces (4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the barley in salted boiling water until al dente, 30 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over low heat, stirring, until lightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the currants and shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the shallot is golden, about 3 minutes. Scrape into the barley and add the pine nuts.
  4. In a food processor, pulse two-thirds of the kale with the lemon juice until chopped. With the machine on, slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil until smooth. Season with salt. Scrape the pesto into the barley. Add the preserved lemon, if using, and the remaining kale leaves, season with salt and toss well. Serve.


It was time to cut some basil from my herb garden, so Pesto Time!


Basil Pesto

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.


The muffins for lunches this week-

Vanilla Glazed Apple Cinnamon Muffins

(I tripled the recipe to make 6 jumbo and 9 mini muffins)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutemg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup grated apple
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, butter, sugar, apple, egg and vanilla.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Place into oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
To make the glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar as needed.


When the muffins are done, cool for 10 minutes and drizzle the glaze on each muffin. Allow glaze to set before serving. Let cool on a wire rack.


Snapped a photo at Whole Foods on Saturday after having a conversation about grocery shopping in the city with no car.  Well, you either have your groceries delivered, shop multiple times during the week and/or put your groceries on wheels.


Happy Birthday Prestyn (and Grace…and Jacob)!!


 Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

-Henry James





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