That’s A’mericuh

Ah Memorial Day Weekend…a time to honor our country, remember those who have served in our armed forces, and EAT all of the summer food you can get your hands on. Ok, so maybe that last part is just my own personal interpretation. I wanted to spend the weekend in the deserted city, eating out without having to wait, going to touristy places without it being a mob scene, and doing all the New York-y things I never have time to do. First up was just a night in to hang out and watch the Netflix DVD that had been sitting in our apartment for over a month. The movie was Sideways, so I paired it with a few bottles of really good wine and fully stocked antipasti platter.

The next day I used the same antipasti ingredients to make a bangin’ sandwich for a picnic in the park. My hands down favorite thing to bring on a picnic has to be a muffaletta sandwich. It starts with a hollowed out bread bowl, that’s layered with different Italian meats and cheese, roasted red peppers, and olive tapenade. It travels well and the longer it sits, the more the flavors develop. The key to a relaxing picnic is making the food and transport easy on yourself.

The muffaletta is like a meal on its own, so all you need to do is add some chips and dip, some Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and ice cold drinks, and you’re set for a day in the park. Tate’s Cookies are a Southampton original that I grew up on. My family has been obsessed with all of the baked goods that the owner Kathleen has been churning out since before I was born. It’s now a national brand and you can get them everywhere from Manhattan to California. The next time you see these in the grocery store, take my advice and stop. drop. and buy ’em!

After hours in the sun I was ready to go home an indulge in a tradition that no holiday weekend is complete without, COCKTAIL TIME! My current cocktail obession is the alcoholic version of the golfing classic the Arnold Palmer. Half iced tea, half lemonade (or sparkling lemonade) and a hefty shot of vodka over ice. It’s tart, it’s slightly sweet, and it’s oh so refreshing.  Whether it’s nightime, daytime, on the beach, the golf course, or even your air conditioned couch, this is the ultimate summer drink. Add some fresh mint for a pretty garnish.

My last culinary triumph of the weekend was the fake little BBQ I threw together on Monday night. Despite having a great time in the empty concrete jungle where dreams are made of, I have to admit I was longing for some all-American grilin’. First off, it’s not summer until you kick off your BBQ with a big batch of clams. These clams had a little something extra, they were cooked in bacon fat…if that’s not American I don’t know what is.

After the clams came some big juicy burgers and sausage pasta salad. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I make amazing burgers. The secret is something I’m sort of embarassed to admit. But we’re all friends here right? Okay, deep breathe…Montreal Steak Seasoning. GASP. I know, I know this is like that time in Legally Blonde when the fitness instructor admitted she had liposuction. It’s emabarrassing, because generally I frown upon (okay turn my nose up at) anything pre-mixed or pre-packaged, especially sodium laden short cuts that not only cheat you out of flavor and the fun of making something yourself. But also cost wayyy more than if you started from scratch. That being said, this stuff makes burgers sing…and I’ve tried making it myself, it’s just not the same. The last piece of this puzzle was a tomato, arugula, and farfalle pasta topped with Kalamata olives and grilled sausage. SUMMER. IN. A. BOWL. Warm or cold, sprinkled with some Parmiggiano Regiano, it’s off the charts amazing. In fact, it’s got so much flavor that you could probably omit the grilled sausage if you’re trying to go healthy (cough cough Laurie Malinowski cough cough.)

Recipe Time

The Muffaletta

There are a MILLION ways to make this sandwich, but this is MY way cause it’s MY blog! 🙂

Ingredients

1/4 lb prosciutto

1/4 lb hot sopresstta

1/4 lb pancetta

1/4 provolone cheese

1/4 lb fresh mozarella

Olive tapenade

Roasted red peppers

Sourdough bread round

Directions

Cut horizontally, the top fourth of the bread round (basically cut off a “lid”) and hallow it out (you can save the inside to feed to the ducks on your picnic! And don’t judge me for being so lame.)

Spread the olive tapenade on the bottom of the bread round, layer the meat cheese and red peppers until you’ve reached the top. Spread another layer of the olive tapenade. Put the lid back on the bread and the sandwich cut into fourths. Keep the sandwich in the circular shape, it travels best this way, and wrap in foil.

Clams a la Elizabeth

Ingredients

1/2 lb of bacon diced

5 cloves diced garlic

1/4 cup white wine

1 1/2 lb littleneck or manilla clams

Directions

In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until crispy. Add the garlic and saute until just golden. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. While the pan is on high add the clams. Cover and allow the clams to steam until they’ve all opened. Toss the clams with the bacon and wine sauce…meditate on how glorious bacon and wine sauce is going to taste…and then eat it

Burgers

Combine a pound of 80% lean ground beef, with 2 tbsp. worcestershire, 3 or 4 cloves of diced garlic, and 1 tbsp. of Montreal steak seasoning. Form into patties, grill, top with cheese, bun it up.

Pasta Salad

Ingredients

1 lb. farfalle pasta

1/2 lb. sweet sausage and 1/2 lb. spicy sausage

2-3 cloves of diced garlic

8 oz. arugula, chopped

Baby heirloom tomatoes, quarterd

Pitted Kalamata olives

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, cook until al dente. Meanwhile grill the sausages until no longer pink inside. Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute garlic until lightly golden. Add the arugula and saute until wilted. Add the tomatoes just long enough for the heat to pop the tomatoes. Add the olives, cooked sausage, and pasta. Toss to combine.

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