If your idea of a good time is to peruse a calendar of naked men (and definitely of a certain age) then join the Gentlemen of the Garden at their next outdoor bash in Palm Beach. No? Do it anyway – the party is a hoot!
It’s not every night that one can whoop it up with 100 caring but crazy gentlemen dedicated to maintaining the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. Count on near naked dress codes among some of them, but also count on a dinner menu not usually found in the best books on Entertaining Lavishly – I rather favor their homemade tamales… but that is another story.
This story revolves around a pair of GoGs that love life, putti, fruit trees, and home cooking! It can’t get better than that!
David Miller and Ray Wakefield have been growing exotic fruit bearing trees for decades, and the line waiting for Ray’s Calamondin Marmalade features some of Palm Beach’s most famous Swans!
So what trees do they have you ask? Over the years – Calamondin, carambola, mango (OMG the Florida mangos are drop dead wonderful this time of year) avocado, kumquat, loquat, Meyer lemon, sapote, guava (which apparently makes divine jam if it weren’t for the thin skin and tedious process) grapefruit, sour orange and perhaps the most exotic of all - monstera deliciosa! (Not sure about you, but I insist all my monstera be deliciosa! No?)
Though I love wine, I don’t own much wine paraphernalia. Good glassware and a sturdy corkscrew is pretty much all anybody needs. Carafes are nice for entertaining. Aerators a possible necessity if you’re drinking a lot of young red wine, but I generally spend my wine dollars on wine. We have a fairly large cellar and once people find out how many bottles we have - enough to survive a year without buying more, not so much we couldn’t drink it in our lifetime - the first question is always “how much do you drink?” Let’s just say there are two of us, usually one bottle a day…you can do the math.
Leftover wine is rarely an issue in our house. Yet not everyone has a nightly wine buddy and some people just like to have a glass with dinner. Others like to try several different ones at a time. How do you make sure the wine stays as fresh as possible? Once you pull that cork oxygen begins it’s hack job trying to turn your luscious vino into vinegar. I’ve found the “re-cork it and refrigerate it” method works pretty well with most red wine, since - except for very old ones. Most reds could use a little opening up and many are better the next day doing this. However, if you’re not going to get to the wine for a few days you’re really taking a gamble. Especially if you really LOVED it the first night. (Our advice when that happens - drink it all. Seriously.) When it comes to white wines or rose, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be disappointed the next day if you don’t take some precaution against oxidation other than refrigeration.
When I got the chance to try the Savino, I figured why not give it a spin?
It’s the end of summer. And I always get nervous that it’s almost the end of peach season (which is true). So the race is on over here to figure out all the things I can do with peaches before the summer ends.
I spent a summer once on a farm in Pennsylvania. We had fresh yellow peaches every day from the Amish Farmer next door. We ate them for breakfast, sliced with their skins on, in a bowl, with unsweetened heavy cream poured over them (not too heavily, not like cereal) and walnuts if we were feeling adventurous. It was a delicious way to start the day.
There was peach cobbler once a week in the summer when I was growing up. Perfect with a real pie crust on the top. And then when I started entertaining for myself, peach praline pie was one of my favorite things to make.
Here are some of our favorite peach recipes. Tell us yours!
Fresh Peach Tart | Iron Skillet Peach Pie | Peach Galette | Fresh Peach and Cinnamon Ice Cream | White Peach Sherbet | Grilled Peaches Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese and Rosemary | Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Peach Coulis and Chantilly Cream | Amaretto Peach Bake with Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake | Peaches in Sauternes | Blackberry and Peach Crisp | Peach and Tart Cherry Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits | Summer's Best Fresh Peach Cobbler | Peach and Raspberry Cobbler
Capital Grille is fine dining in Providence. It seems like they've been around forever and it's 25 years, so it is forever. It opened in 1990 and this is the original store tucked behind old Union Station. Historically, I find it intriguing that a place that was of its time then is still good at being contemporary years later. I went looking for an old menu to see what they served in 1990 but there are no clues for what used to be. I really want to know.
I don't have to tell you how hard it is to pick a place to eat. It's not like I didn't have any notice. We knew months in advance that I had to find the right spot for dinner in a place I don't know, that I can't find without a GPS and that's open Monday. There are places you can starve on Mondays and Providence is one. At the visitor's request, it must be: "A place you've never been that will break the bank, and that you can write about." Or what we call a regular working dinner. Years ago, in their Newton, MA store, I sat at the bar with beer and a wedge salad. That was when I was still allowed to have blue cheese, bacon and sour cream all on the same plate. Surely that doesn't count and so, of course, I don't tell. It's not like I'm going to have it again though I could. It's on the menu just as I remember.
This quick and easy dinner was inspired by Aida Mollenkamp‘s Chile Basil Coconut Ceviche. Black Cod arrived from the fish CSA this week, I just bought a can of coconut cream and I was awash in fresh lime juice.
It was, as they say, beshert, meant to be. It never occurred to me to combine coconut milk/cream with lime juice to “cook” the fish. Black Cod is so luscious that I normally wouldn’t use it in ceviche but somehow the idea of combining like with like (rich fish and rich coconut cream) seemed like a good idea.
I looked in the fridge to see what I had that would appeal in the same way Aida’s mixture of mango with coconut appeals. I had a luscious Weiser Ogen melon. Score!
So it went like this.
We are big barbecue lovers over here, ribs, pulled pork and brisket make for an amazing meal. But the sauce has to be right. Like perfection. Sometimes I crave my tangy-vinegar based Eastern Carolina Barbecue Sauce. But lately I’ve been wanting something sweet with a little bit of smoke on the side.
Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce is known for its balanced sweet-smoky-spicy flavor. It can be hard to achieve since the sweetness can easily overpower the other flavors. However, I’ve been playing and tweaking and I think I’ve finally gotten it. Practice makes perfect!
The sauce is thick and somewhat dark brown. It’s powerful and ornery with lots of attitude. I love this sauce on pulled pork and all kinds of other barbecue. I have been spending a lot of time learning about all the different regional styles of barbecue, it’s fascinating and it’s not just about the sauce.
Everyone loves grilled chicken, but most people shy away from grilling it at home. But here's a method that has been perfected by the Italians and is uniquely different. Pollo al mattone, or chicken under a brick, is a popular dish in Tuscany, where it is often prepared by families in the countryside. It's easy to make on the grill any time. Make it this weekend before summer is completely over—your family will love you for it.
First, the chicken is specially prepared by spatchcocking, which involves removing the backbone, breastbone, and wing tips. The chicken can then be opened up and laid flat, skin-side down, on the grill. A brick or cast-iron press is placed on top to weigt the chicken down so that it cooks more evenly. This method means the bird will cook in half the time than if left whole. Plus it will produce super moist meat and crispy crackling skin.
It's almost the end of summer, which likely means you're sunburned, overtired, and ready for your kids to go back to school. I'm here to help. Are you ready for some relaxation? Here's what you need to do:
1. Make a batch of this Sparkling Rosemary-Ginger Lemonade and refrigerate it. Chill a tall glass in the freezer, and fill it with the ginger lemonade.
2. Find a comfy hammock or chaise lounge, preferably in a shady spot. Recline on it while sipping your ginger lemonade.
3. Tell your significant other, your kids, the dog to leave you alone. OK, maybe not the dog.
4. Listen to the hum of bees. Smell the sharp scent of freshly cut grass. Watch the clouds float by. It's a lazy summer day. Make the most of it.
5. If you're still not relaxed, pour yourself a second glass of ginger lemonade and add a shot of vodka or gin. Repeat steps 2-4.
There are few things that taste more like summer than watermelon. I still see such a vivid picture in my mind of my mother's first homegrown watermelon. She stood so proud, holding the melon by the end of the vine, like it was a prize that she'd won. Deciding whether it made a "thump" or a "thud" would make or break what seemed like the longest wait on earth for a slice of juicy watermelon.
These days, we've had a feast of watermelon with almost every meal - perfectly accommodated by natures rhythm to give something so juicy during this heat. Isn't that amazing? Our needs can always been met by what the soil gives us. I can still feel the sun in my skin long after I come inside and begin to cook dinner, so I look for something to deeply cool me from within.
Like my mother's precious watermelon, my prize grows on our fig tree. Each morning we check on the ripeness of the largest fruits that still hang from the branches. We enjoy the slow harvest that gives just a fig or two a day, the perfect slightly sweet snack.
"Give a kiss to the figs that aren't ripe yet", I tell Dane as I water the tree. I know those kisses make the figs taste even sweeter.
Slightly rustic and simply elegant, this easy dessert is a mainstay in this Farmer’s kitchen! The complement of basic ingredients with pretty fruit is what makes this dish so elegant. Peaches in the summer, apples in the fall, pecans in winter, and strawberries in spring, the dough for this tart is quite versatile.
Just shy of true pie crust dough, this tart dough is a perfect blend of the slightly sweet with just enough puff and flake. Sweet and tart peaches are the piece de resistance for this lovely dessert, and a glaze of peach preserves adds a beautiful sheen to the tart and makes the perfect dollop for serving.
Fresh from the farm peaches are wonderful just about any way you slice them. For this dessert, I leave the skin on, which helps hold the shape of the peach wedges. Arranging from a center floret of peach slices and concentrically ringing the dough with the fruit is quite beautiful if you roll the dough into a circle. If you roll your dough into a more rectangular shape, lines of peach slices make for a great presentation as well.
A pleasant, bright fragrance wafted from the work bowl of my food processor as I pulled the top off. I had just whirled granulated sugar and chopped lemongrass through the sharp blade of my faithful workhorse, producing a delicately-scented lemon-infused sugar.
I was preparing to mix up a batch of zucchini muffins with subtle hints of lemon without the tart bite and plump, sweet blueberries.
I have lemongrass growing in my little garden this year. Lemongrass is a staple of Asian cuisines, used like an herb to add aromatic, lemony flavor without the bite of citrus. It looks like grass, but the portion closest to the soil eventually becomes long, thick, pale green and reed-like. This lower portion is the usable part of the plant.
Brownies are the perfect picnic food. I wanted chocolate, I wanted a brownie, but I wanted something a little different. I thought a cream cheese brownie would be great but didn’t have cream cheese. However, what I did have was some goat cheese. I thought, what the heck…I am going to experiment.
I used the brownie base for David Lebovitz’s (Ready for Dessert) cheesecake brownies, but swapped the cream cheese for goat cheese and added a touch more sugar (to compensate for the tartness in the goat cheese).
I also omitted the chocolate chips from the actual brownie base and instead took a skinny bar of Valrhona and did a rough chop. After swirling in the cheese mixture, I dotted the top of the brownies with the chocolate chunks.
Why doesn’t somebody make a hamburger bun that also fits a hot dog? It would be hinged. That way, if you had a small family, you would only have to buy one package of buns. Here’s what it would look like...
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