This was our last week before closing for the holiday. At the last minute, at the end of last week, I accepted an invitation to do a live presentation on the same day as our third VIP party. The only way I was able to say yes was because of how expert my team has become at rising to the occasion and executing events. I was so grateful to be able to do an off-site event, and then walk into a VIP party that was 100% ready without one ounce of effort from me. These girls are incredible.
In that same vein, this week I began to feel like a stranger in the Hurley House kitchen. And I mean that in the best possible way. Rachel is killing it leading our team and making sure the work is getting done. I used to do my work for Ina while managing the team, but now, they are doing great without me, and I am in the way.
These developments are signs of health and make me very happy.
WHAT I COOKED
Chicken Salad Veronique, At Home
Panna Cotta with Blasomic Strawberries, At Home
Ultimate Grilled Cheese, How Easy Is That?
Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup, Back to Basics
Arugula with Parmesan, Family Style
Sun-Dried Tomato Dip, Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil, Family Style
Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad, How Easy Is That?
Herbed Basmati Rice, At Home
Montauk Seafood Salad, Family Style
Carrot & Cauliflower Purée, Make It Ahead
Greek Lamb with Yogurt Mint, How Easy Is That?
Zucchini Basil Soup, Make It Ahead
Lobster Cobb Salad, Family Style
Summer Pudding with Rum Whipped Cream, Family Style
Parmesan Toasts, Back to Basics
Linguine with Shrimp Scampi, Family Style
Peaches in Sauternes, Barefoot in Paris
Chicken with Wild Mushrooms, Foolproof
Creamy Parmesan Polenta, How Easy Is That?
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, Back to Basics
Blue Cheese Burgers, At Home
Guacamole Salad, At Home
Deconstructed Strawberry Shortcakes, How Easy Is That?
WHAT I LEARNED
PANNA COTTA WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES.
I am nominating myself as president of the Panna Cotta Fan Club. Panna Cotta for President. Long live Panna Cotta! Am I getting my point across? This dessert, in any form, with any topping, is to die for. It’s also stupid easy, despite including things like gelatin in the ingredient list. It lasts for days in the fridge (winning!), and when topped with balsamic strawberries, well, it doesn’t get much better.
ULTIMATE GRILLED CHEESE.
This is a top ten for sure. I have been making this for my family for years, and from the first time we bit into this layered, melty, perfectly seasoned sandwich, we were hooked. My trick is to cook the bacon in the panini press, but you do it however you like.
CREAM OF FRESH TOMATO SOUP.
This may be my new go-to tomato soup recipe. It’s easy, it makes a ton (you might want to halve it for a smaller group), a touch of cream, fresh basil, and lots of tomato flavor. While I did make this with fresh summer tomatoes, I’m guessing there’s a version of this soup in which we can use canned tomatoes. Stay tuned for more on that down the road.