Monday, July 7, 2014

Vegetarian Sunday

Let's just start with the disclaimer that we are not vegetarians. Anything but, actually. We love our charcuterie, for example: we are those people that keep a drawer full of salame and cheese in our refrigerator. Though Ann is by nature quite a bigger carnivore than am I. I'm always having to fend off her requests for a big hunk of meat on the grill, which interests me not at all. But now it is summertime and the weather is hot and we naturally gravitate towards eating lighter food. Plus we have all these glorious vegetables at our disposal now. So it shouldn't be terribly surprising that we eat a fair amount of vegetarian meals in the summer. And yesterday was one of those days. We didn't plan it that way purposefully. It just evolved that way from what we really wanted to eat.

Lunch al Fresco
This last week at the restaurant kept me really busy, especially executing a wonderful 50th anniversary menu on Saturday. It meant extra long hours for me and 100% of my focus, leaving no time for Ann or thinking about the weekend. She hates these weeks when she really feels the true chef widow. So Sunday morning dawned without any plan. After I spent a couple hours in the back yard working, Ann finally joined me and we got to thinking about what to eat. Lunch was easy: she wanted a reprise of last weekend's Mediterranean mezes plate that I did when Karen dropped by.

A few chickpeas in the food processor, slicing a few roasted red peppers, and a little baguette in the oven and instant lunch.

Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Some days ago, Ann had brought up the idea of a grilled vegetable sandwich but we never got around to it for some reason or other. I brought it back up Sunday and it stuck. So when I made the roasted red pepper salad for lunch, I made extra for our dinner panini. Slice roasted red peppers, chiffonade fresh basil, mince garlic, add salt, pepper, Sherry vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Toss. Done.

Grilled Vegetable Panino
This is one of the very best sandwiches that I have ever had. I split a loaf of focaccia, brushed the cut faces with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and grilled to a crispy golden brown. Then, while the zucchini, yellow squash, and red onions were grilling, I spread the grilled faces of the bread with pesto. From there, it was a simple matter to layer the sandwich: zucchini, red onion, yellow squash, roasted red pepper salad, and provolone cheese. I left the top off and put it under the broiler to melt the cheese and then put the top back on and cut it into small panini.

Ever the expert on all matters, teenager Carter argued with us (but still ate the sandwich) that these are not panini because they have not been pressed. We had to school him a bit in the Italian language. At almost 15 years of age, he still knows that parents are dumber than dirt!

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