sdtpasta

This was my first recipe to try with Barefoot Bloggers. I love Ina Garten. She can come off a bit pretentious. But, her recipes are always wonderful. I could look at her cookbooks all day long. The photographs of the food and table settings are always just stunning.

At any rate, we really enjoyed the pasta salad. I must admit, it isn’t something I would have picked out on my own to try. But, I’m glad this recipe was chosen this month because it truly is a keeper!

Mix in a chopped grilled chicken breast, a can of tuna, or even a bit of salami and it’s a great summer dinner. Or, it keeps well for a few days to eat for lunch through out the week.

panpizza

Pizza made at home used to scare me. Aside from a grill, it’s hard to get a hot enough temperature in your oven to get a decent, crispy crust. After a few attempts, I lost all hope and gave up. A few months later I saw an episode of The Cooking Loft with Alex Guarnaschelli. She was executing a technique for pizza that I had never thought of. Frying the dough in a cast iron skillet before topping it. Then, finishing off the baking in an oven. Genius!

This pizza is great. So great in fact, we rarely order it out anymore (not that we have a slew of great pizza shops around here anyway). This recipe makes 2 12-inch pizzas.Top it with whatever you like. Unlike many pizza crusts, this one can take a beating. So, pile the toppings on. She can handle it, I promise!

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My husband works for the government, and occasionally the opportunity to travel presents itself. Since I’ve been staying at home with Andrew, it’s been great because we can go with him. Usually, its just to Washington DC, which I always enjoy. I grew up just outside of Annapolis – so getting up that way to visit with friends and family is always welcome. This time though, it was New York City, and I was ecstatic.

I went to New York with my high school drama class back in ’98. We were there 1 night, and we stayed in Jersey. Needless to say, all we had a chance to do was see a couple of shows and do a bit of shopping. I’ve been anxious to get back ever since.

We left here Monday morning at around 8:30 – drove to Newark, NJ. Took a train into the city.  By 3:30 we were checked into the hotel.  I already had a “plan of action” ready. We only had 2 days there, and I wanted to cover as much territory as possible.

That afternoon we went to the “Top Of The Rock“. The view was absolutely unbelievable. To see that huge chunk of green amidst that sea of concrete…

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After that it was off to the first of my “foodie” stops. Russ & Daughter’s and Katz’s Deli are both notorious locations . Even though I don’t care for pastrami OR cured fish, I still had to go, just to pay homage. We went to Russ & Daughter’s first. Everything smelled and looked so fresh. It’s very small inside. One aisle, with display counters on either side of you. I felt humbled, to think of all of those who had stood in that spot before me.

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After chatting with Ron (are they fishmongers?), we went over to Katz’s Deli. It was packed, as I had anticipated. The cutters are quick though, and we had a sandwich in about 10 minutes. I had eaten a panini back at the hotel, so I wasn’t that hungry. But, Jon and Andrew both enjoyed the pastrami with mustard sandwich and the pickles that accompanied it.

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I wandered around and looked at all of the celebrity photographs on the wall. Everyone you could possibly imagine. I also learned that Katz’s is the location of the infamous diner scene in “When Harry Met Sally”. Humbling moments lurked around every corner in Katz’s!

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Of course by the time we got back to the hotel, I was hungry. Jon ran out and got me a couple of slices of Ray’s, and it was everything I had hoped NY pizza could be. I love a hint of sweetness in a pizza sauce. Just a hint though!

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Tuesday morning Andrew and I took the subway down to Chelsea. We visited Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment and Magnolia Bakery.  After our faces had been sufficiently stuffed with cupcakes, we walked down to Chelsea Market. It wasn’t really what I expected (I tend to build up grandiose visions in my head), but there were a couple of things that really rocked my socks. Buon Italia (an Italian import store) was amazing, as was the Manhattan Fruit Exhange. Anything that grows under the sun they had at this place.

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Fresh Wood Ear mushrooms! Actual baby carrots! Piles of meyer lemons! It was all to much for my faint heart.  Also, it was a great opportunity snap some photographs. I took the 50mm with me on this outing. Earlier in the day I had cursed this decision when I was unable to get a complete shot of Carrie’s apartment. However, I was glad I had this lens for these shots.

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That night we walked around Little Italy and Chinatown. Talk about a different world! They had produce I had never seen or heard of. Ate dinner one of the many restaurants on Grand Street, and picked up a couple of cannolis to take back to the hotel.

The next day I just kind of meandered around. Walked to Times Square to take a few pictures and ran into the Naked Cowboy. That was about the extent of my celeb sightings. And, he doesn’t really count since hanging out in Times Square is kind of his job.

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I went back to Chelsea Market to buy a few things to take home with me, I just couldn’t resist. Then, came back to Midtown to do a little shopping before going back to the hotel to get everything packed up before Jon was done working.

It was a great trip. We did  a lot, saw a lot, ate a lot.  But, I was glad to get home. I couldn’t deal with that hustle and bustle all the time. They say that you have to leave home before you can miss it, and that is very true. But, it’s definitely good to get away from the slow pace here on the Eastern Shore once in a while.

beer

Father’s Day weekend is usually a big weekend around here. My dad’s birthday usually falls on, or on the day before. And, of course, since the baby has come along we’ve been celebrating Father’s Day. It also kind of signals the beginning of summer. And, for me, nothing says “summer” more than blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay.

I’ve been eating these for every summer as far back as I remember. My dad, mom, and I would go “trotlining” early in the morning. By 10 o’clock we’d have a bushel of crabs. Now-adays, we live 20 minutes from “The Crab Capital Of The World”. Also known as Crisfield, Maryland. We buy the crabs by the bushel, live, right off the boat.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had a pre-steamed crab, and I don’t know that I’d care to. You just need to make sure you have a large enough steaming vessel to cook them…a 7 gallon turkey fryer is ideal.

crabs

Steamed Blue Crabs

1/2 bushel live blue crabs (4 dozen)

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups beer (any kind will do)

8 cups water

1/2 cup Old Bay (seafood seasoning)

1/4 cup kosher salt

Combine the Old Bay and kosher salt. Combine the water, vinegar and beer in the bottom of a large steamer pot . Add the crabs in, a few at a time, seasoning with a tablespoon of seasoning here and there as you go. Bring the vinegar/water to a boil, then add the steamer basket full of crabs.  Cover. Cook on medium-high heat for 40 minutes. Remove lid, and continue to steam for an additional 5 minutes with the lid off before removing.

Serve on layers of newspaper, with vinegar and melted butter for dipping.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dad’s out there!