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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation Time!

Following a week of drenching New England rains, this past Saturday arrived with cloudy skies that miraculously changed to sun-filled ones by the afternoon. The good weather was just in time for a celebration my husband and I were hosting to honor six of his students who were graduating from Amherst College.
Each of these young people—four girls and two boys—was receiving their degree with honors so we had plenty of champagne chilled for toasting and a table laden with platters of appetizers for nibbling. I chose some of my all-time favorites for this fete, all of which could be conveniently prepared in advance. Our menu included:
 Mushroom Pâté with Garlic Toasts
Melon Slices Marinated in Pernod and Mint
Savory Mexican Cheesecake with Tomato Salsa and Chips
Smoked Salmon with Lemon Crème Fraîche
Asparagus Topped with Chorizo, Hard Boiled Eggs, and Scallions
Creamy Orzo Flans

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Quick and Easy Weeknight Dinner

Deciding what to serve for a weeknight supper is often more challenging than planning a dinner party menu. That’s certainly the case at our house. After working all day, often testing recipes for classes and articles, I am weary by supper time. My husband, not a cook, but an enthusiastic eater, arrives home hungry for a good meal after a day of teaching, while I waver between resorting to “take out” or whipping up something simple.

Linguine with Asparagus, Crab, and Chives definitely falls within my comfort zone of quick, yet delectable choices for such days. Start to finish, this all-in-one main course takes less than 30 minutes and is accented by the fresh flavors of spring. You simply put a pot of water on to boil, cook the pasta until almost done, and then during the last few minutes, add some sliced asparagus. Once drained, the linguine and asparagus are returned to the pot in which they were cooked, and tossed with crème fraîche, Parmesan, lemon zest, and crabmeat. For serving, mounds of this pasta are topped with snipped chives and shaved Parmesan.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dinner and a Play in The Big Apple

For my birthday last month, my husband planned a short visit to New York for us to have dinner and then to see "War Horse," a new play at the Vivian Beaumont Lincoln Center.  He took care of the theatre tickets and left me in charge of the dining arrangements.

I chose Bar Boulud since it was close to Lincoln Center, and because I am a fan of several of Daniel Boulud’s other restaurants.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best-Ever Mint Juleps for Derby Day

Some things are timeless—the VW Beetle, the little black dress, and a mint julep on Kentucky Derby Day. When I was newly married several decades ago, my mother and her sister decided that no Southern wife, even one living far above the Mason-Dixon line, should be without a set of mint julep cups. Over the next few years, for every birthday, Christmas, and anniversary they each sent me an individual silver beaker until I had a dozen! When the set was complete, I began a quest to find the best recipe for this popular libation.