Every year we shut down Hurley House for the week of July 4th, and it is the highlight of my summer. No work. No agenda. And this year, only two children at home with me. Timm and my older two children left on Monday for Africa, not to return until the following Tuesday. This meant me and the little two had a wide open week before us, and I was determined to stay on track cooking at home.
I did an okay job. It turns out cooking is work, and it’s hard to want to work when you’re on “vacation.” But I managed. I rediscovered my love of being at home, managing my own kitchen, working in small batches, and keeping the fridge beautiful. It’s restful for me when I find the rhythm, and I had forgotten how much I delight in preparing food for my family.
WHAT I COOKED
Roasted Italian Meatballs, Cooking for Jeffery
Orecchiette with Farm Stand Pasta Sauce, Cooking for Jeffery
Italian Seafood Salad, Foolproof
Foie Gras with Roasted Apples, How Easy Is That?
Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper, Back to Basics
French String Bean Salad, How Easy Is That?
Sparkling Grapefruit Granita, Cooking for Jeffery
Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Pastry Cream, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Lime Curd Tart, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Raspberry Tart, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Brioche Loaves, Barefoot in Paris
Homemade Granola, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Easy Strawberry Jam, Back to Basics
Cinnamon Honey Butter, Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Raspberry Butter, Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Spanish Pea Soup with Crispy Ham, Foolproof
Easy Lobster Paella, At Home
Scott’s Short Ribs, Family Style
Old-Fashioned Potato Salad, At Home
Old-Fashioned Carrot Salad, Back to Basics
Roasted Figs with Caramel Sauce, How Easy Is That?
Honey Vanilla Crème Fraîce, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Île Flottante, Barefoot in Paris
Roasted Tomatoes with Basil, Back to Basics
Guacamole, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Tomato Carpaccio, Cooking for Jeffery
WHAT I LEARNED
ROASTED ITALIAN MEATBALLS.
Out of all of Ina’s meatballs, these are my second favorite. The best ones are her Spicy Baked Meatballs, but these are a close second. I love love love how tender they are, juicy and easy to enjoy. I love that they are baked not fried, because no one wants to fry meatballs. These made more than we needed, so I froze the leftovers, planning to turn them into another delicious weeknight meal soon.
OLD FASHIONED CARROT SALAD.
If you like carrot salad, and the odd combination of flavors brings you joy, then this is the recipe for you. Everything about this is spot on, and nostalgic. This dish reminds me of a weird corner of my childhood where I thought this was the best salad on the earth. The flavor imprinted on my brain, and I still get a kick out of eating this every once in a while. However, my kids hate it, which when I think about it, seems like a normal response. Carrots, raisins, mayo, and pineapple isn’t the easiest thing in the world to love.
PASTA WITH PECORINO AND PEPPER
Make this once, with high quality ingredients, and you’ll remember why it is good to have one recipe that is simple and comforting. Pasta with butter, cheese, and pepper is not fancy, but it is satisfying. Sometimes, when the demands of life have you burdened, meals like this can fill the belly of you and your family in less than ten minutes.