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Cheesy Zucchini and Corn Fritters with Herb Sour Cream

If you grow your own summer squash, or belong to a CSA, the weekly glut of produce can be overwhelming. Our solution? Shred it, squeeze it, mix into a cheesy batter and fritter it away. Literally. 

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Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

We take what we love about most about nachos (crunchy chips and an unapologetic amount of cheese) and loaded them up with the best flavors of summer. Grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, avocado, pickled radishes and shredded chicken with bourbon-brown sugar BBQ sauce. 

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Crostini with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Burrata and Chive Oil

The building blocks of a classic Caprese salad are re-imagined in these summery toasts. First, cherry tomatoes are blistered in a skillet until bursting with juice. Then creamier burrata takes the place of the more standard mozzarella. And in place of basil leaves, a quick and easy chive oil adds an herbal accent. The result makes for a great snack or light meal.

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Asian-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

Asian-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

Asian-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

Drizzled with Miso Glaze from Miso-Ginger Grilled Eggplant

One of the main things I was excited about when we moved out of the city was being able to grill. Clearly I love to cook, but since NYC + outdoor space = $$$, it wasn’t until we moved to Beacon that trying to cook outside was even possible.

That’s why I can’t believe it’s already June and we’re just now grilling for the first time this summer.  Silly Cliftons!

We’re making up for it though with an all-grilled dinner (this delicious steak as well as Miso-Ginger Grilled Eggplant.) Yum.

In this case, I used a flat-iron steak (known as butlers’ steak in the UK) but flank steak is easier to find and either works well. Just make sure not to overcook it, let it rest after grilling and most importantly of all, slice it thinly against the grain.

Cutting against the grain:
  • If you look closely at the meat (especially visible in cuts like flat-iron, flank and skirt), you’ll see little lines running across it. That’s the grain. Hold your knife crosswise to the grain and cut thin slices.
  • If you cut WITH the grain: tough and stringy.
  • If you cut AGAINST the grain: like buttah.
Asian-Marinated Grilled Flank Steak

These gorgeous flowers came from our friends Larry and Catherine’s garden … eyes front, soldier.

The Rhubarb 75

The Rhubarb 75

Rhubarb 75What’s that? You say it’s spring and you want a delicious, refreshing cocktail. Oh, and it has to be perfectly balanced, not too sweet, not too tart? So demanding!

Well, you are in luck, my nerdy friends. Let me introduce you to the Rhubarb 75.

As you may know, a classic French 75 is made with gin, simple syrup, lemon juice and champagne so all you need to do is make a Rhubarb Syrup, and you’re good to go.

Rhubarb Syrup

Rhubarb

Rhubarb Syrup

Rhubarb Syrup

Rhubarb Syrup

I know it seems like the only spring vegetable I’m excited about is ramps and that’s just not true (it’s kinda true). At the farmer’s market this weekend the ramps were pretty much over (gah, I’m now expecting condolence cards), but the beautiful, bright pink stalks of rhubarb were a fantastic consolation prize.

While we usually go straight for a rhubarb crumble (Matt actually made one and we meant to blog it but ate it too fast), this time I really wanted to go the cocktail route and for that I knew I would need a rhubarb syrup.

Rhubarb Syrup

This really couldn’t be simpler. All you need is some rhubarb, sugar, water and if you’re feeling fancy, a bit of lemon peel or ginger.

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

We make grilled swordfish as soon as the weather is warm enough to fire the grill up – we use a quick marinade and serve it up with tomatoes and ramps.

Grilled Swordfish, Fresh Tomato Relish and Sautéed Ramps

I’m going to set a little scene for you. Ready?

It’s a warm, early summer evening and after days of torrential, flooding rains, the sky finally clears and you can see a million stars. You can smell the damp earth and the new leaves on the trees. You can hear the frogs that have just woken up from their winter-long sleep. You pull up to the lovely, perfect little restaurant where you’ve reserved a table, excited because you’ve heard great things about it and also because it’s been a long, hard winter and you haven’t gone out in what feels like forever. You hold your husband’s hand as you walk to the entryway, listening to a stream gurgling in the distance that you can’t see because it’s the country and it’s dark. You walk in and the place is adorable and there’s a seasonal cocktail menu written on the chalkboard above the bar and then they seat you at a table RIGHT NEXT TO PETER FRIGGIN DINKLAGE.

Yup. In the car on the way to the restaurant, Matt and I talked about how there was no Game of Thrones on Sunday because of Memorial Day and then they seat us right next to Tyrion Lannister himself. How tempted was I to say the waitress “Bring us bread, two of those little fish, and some bacon burned black?”  Very. But I restrained myself. Just barely.

Oh, and they also had grilled ramps. So, yeah. It was a good night.

Spinach, Cheddar and Egg Breakfast Tarts

Spinach, Cheddar and Egg Breakfast Tarts

Spinach, Cheddar and Egg Breakfast Tarts

Baked Egg Breakfast Tarts: Buttery, puff pastry tarts filled with everything we love at brunch; creamy spinach, bacon, cheddar cheese and eggs. This is a real breakfast special. 

Well, I don’t know about you but so far my spring has been…less than stellar. Not to bore you with the details but I’ve been pretty much out of commission for the last few weeks with shingles. If you’ve ever had them, you know that the majority of your day is spent sitting stock-still so absolutely nothing touches you (when what you really want to do is raise your fists up to the sky and scream “Why God, why!” at the top of your lungs). I’ll just say that if, next time (please, please let there not be a next time), I’m given a choice between wearing a helmet of bees and having shingles again, I’m going with the bees.

This is my long-winded explanation for the lack of posts recently, because honestly, cooking and photographing were just not happening around the ol’ Clifton place of late.

But the weather has turned warm and I’m not writhing in pain anymore so, for my triumphant come-back, I wanted to post something really special.

The idea for some kind of spinach-y, cheese-y and egg-y tart or pie had been kicking around my noodle for awhile and over the weekend I realized we had all the ingredients I thought would work on hand so I decided to give it a whirl.

I’m calling it a “breakfast tart” because of the bacon and egg components but we had them for dinner (and then for lunch the next day) and they were perfect. They’re really easy to make and would be great for a brunch party. You could easily customize them for the crowd (no bacon on one, mushrooms on another, etc).

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