After a wonky summer, I finally found myself getting my children ready for school to start. It felt perfectly right and appropriately timed to be moving forward. Sometimes a break is what you need. And sometimes, the return of routine is beneficial for lots of reasons.
We were also ready to launch our fall menu and school-year line up of activities and events at Hurley House. The summer menu offerings, though tasty, had not proved to be profitable or popular. This made me a little sad, because three years in, I’m still not sure how to make our summers at Hurley House work the way the rest of the year works. It’s a continual hurdle, and one that leave me feeling like I’m mission something.
Meanwhile at home, I was in full hospitality mode. We invited a family over for dinner, and though I have done this hundreds of times before, this felt different. The goal wasn’t the food. The goal wasn’t my house. The goal was to connect with our guests and enjoy being with them. That can sound simple but be tricky to do well. Don’t worry. I’m taking lots of notes over here on what’s working and what’s not, and I am eager to begin to share all of these thoughts once this project is over.
WHAT I COOKED
Warm Dates with Blue Cheese & Prosciutto, Cook Like a Pro
Chicken Marbella, Cook Like a Pro
Heirloom Tomatoes with Herbed Ricotta, Cook Like a Pro
Chocolate Chevron Cake, Cook Like a Pro
Breakfast Ricotta with Berries & Maple Syrup, Make It Ahead
Homemade Ricotta, Make It Ahead
Homemade Ricotta, Cook Like a Pro
Fresh Raspberry Sauce, Cook Like a Pro
Fresh Berries & Sweet Ricotta, Cook Like a Pro
Daniel Rose’s Pear Clafouti, Cook Like a Pro
Perfect Poached Lobster, Cook Like a Pro
Sauteed Shishito Peppers, Cook Like a Pro
Lobster Salad in Endive, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Warm Lobster Rolls, Cook Like a Pro
Raspberry Baked Alaska, Cook Like a Pro
Cioppino, Cook Like a Pro
Garlic Toasts, Cook Like a Pro
Rum Raisin Apple Strudel, Cook Like a Pro
Shells with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta, Cook Like a Pro
Campari & Orange Granita, Cook Like a Pro
Summer Fruit Tart, Cook Like a Pro
WHAT I LEARNED
Please try this. It is so easy, and the results are a huge wow factor. I wish I had learned about this years ago. Ina shows you exactly what to do, and the finished product is far and away better than anything you can get in the store.
WARM DATES WITH BLUE CHEESE AND PROSCIUTTO.
This is a easy and fast appetizer, equal parts delicious and dangerous. They are so easy to pop! You can make them ahead and then bake them right before serving. Eight minutes later, they are ready to go, beautifully salty and sweet with a punch of blue cheese.
One look at this recipe, and I thought I knew what to expect. I thought it was going to be terrible. Treslyn, however, was pumped. She said it was going to be delicious. Prunes, green olives, brown sugar, capers, wine…it’s such an odd combination of flavors. The verdict? It’s delicious! I served it with couscous to soak up all the juices, but the flavor is interesting and complex, but also satisfying and approachable. I would make this for a dinner party in a heartbeat. I would also suggest only using chicken thighs. Skip the drumsticks and skip the breasts.