A little late this week. I've had a lot on my plate, being the end and first of the month, plus with Teverly out I have a little less time for the office during the day. She will be gone for the rest of the summer, so I've scheduled a couple of my senior bus girls to act as hosts at lunch. They seem to enjoy that change in routine and it affords me the time I need in the office. That being said, they can't make drinks...
Anyway, Wednesday night's menu of turnovers and moussaka was also a bit of a routine changer. Kevin started working on the puff pastry for the turnovers on his day off Monday, trying out a recipe from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook that he took out of the library. He was pleased with it. The moussaka stemmed from an abundance of eggplant - thanks neighbors! We sold all but one menu, so it seems like the guests were ready for something new too.
The Swiss chard (thanks neighbors!) filled turnovers were so pretty, I couldn't resist the typical food blogger impulse to post picture after picture of the same thing.
The little savory hand pies had some Swiss cheese going on inside too, and were served on a puddle of "chard stem cream" sauce.
Moussaka is typically a Greek inspired dish, featuring eggplant layered with ground meat, topped with a bechamel sauce and baked. Sort of like a pasta-less lasagna. Kevin's version used a little ricotta as the glaze, instead of white sauce, but otherwise it was fairly true to form. A little fresh Redman's corn and some mashed Arnold Farm Yukon gold potatoes and you've got it made. (If you haven't picked up any of those potatoes from the Arnold's stand at the Farmer's Market, make sure you do it this Saturday. They. Are. Delicious.)
Dorsey came around with some blackberries on Tuesday, and we used all six quarts the next day. One went into a blackberry sauce for the menu dessert of lemon angel food cake:
Two quarts went into a blackberry pie. One was mashed with a little 10XX sugar and blended with Greek yogurt and honey for an ice pop, and the remaining quarts went into a recipe we found for Blackberry Barbecue Sauce. The latter turned out to be wonderful on the Black Bottom Farm fresh ham we've been serving as a special this week. It's got lots of ginger in it, which really went well with the fruit and the pork. I couldn't believe that we managed to use all six quarts in such a rapid and productive fashion! Trust me, that doesn't always happen.
In other news, many folks have been asking me how our summer is going. It has had its ups and downs, that is for sure. Down with way less than pleasant staffing issues and up with the weather. Down with erratic business flow and up with the local produce supply and quality. Down with a difficult crab situation and up with Kim's Black Bottom Farm pork. Down with Patrick and up with Charlie. I suppose for the most part things have evened out, but it has been a slightly weird summer. Busy during the week and average to downright slow on the weekends, which I attribute to great local support but less tourist business than normal for this time of year. I haven't really talked with any other restaurateurs lately, so I don't know how we compare, but generally we don't let business ebbs and flows worry us, mostly because there always is an ebb and flow. It's not unusual around here for September and October to be the two busiest months out of the year.
What ever. How's your summer been? Can you ever get enough watermelon in August?? The watermelon this summer - once again, Redman's seedless - has been sensational. I never tire of it.
What have we been eating lately, besides watermelon? (The really bad thing is now that Kevin has put that watermelon and feta salad on the lunch menu, there is always a ready supply of cubes of juicy delight at the ready!) Anyway, here's a picture of our breakfast from Wednesday morning:
Ha! you say, those look like hot dogs! Yes, the breakfast of Champions! We were bragging to Dick O'Neil about the delights of Thumann's New Jersey Dogs, and he had a competitor to offer. Zweigle's. Out of Rochester, New York. And they were pretty good, especially the frankfurter. The white sausage mostly made me want a weisswurst from Binkerks...anybody going up that way?
The summer is flying by, as is its nature. Why, I wonder, doesn't January move this fast? Especially fleeting are all of these seasonal fruits and vegetables that we are so fortunate to find at roadside stands and farmer's markets. Bill brings bushels of peppers and eggplant, crates of corn, boxes of zucchini and those ubiquitous watermelon through our back door, an abundance of freshness. We are so lucky. Eat it while you can. It will soon enough be back to turnips and cabbage...