Dinner With Friends


I have recently been reacquainted with an old friend, after almost a decade of silence. Laura is someone who was a part of my life and then suddenly, she wasn’t. We lost touch and moved on. Nothing sad, nothing regretful. Last week, as the result of pure luck and her son’s college visits, we picked up right where we left off. There was no more fitting a way to do so then to sit down and enjoy a homeccooked meal together.

Radish Butter
Courtesy of The Lee Brothers


1 pound radishes
12 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt

Pulse radishes in a cuisinart until finely diced (about 5-7 seconds). Set aside in a fine colander and allow to drain. Spoon in butter gradually, mixing as you add each tablespoon. Add salt and place in a bowl to set. Serve with crackers.

Roasted Sweet Peppers with Mozzarella and Basil


3 large yellow peppers
3 large orange pepper
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to broil. Core and halve each pepper and place them skin side up on a baking sheet. Set baking sheets in the top rack of the oven and broil until each pepper is blackened (about 10 minutes). Place all peppers in a paper bag. Close and set aside to steam. Broiling and steaming the peppers as such will make it much easier to remove the skins as well as give them a wonderful, smokey flavor. Once the peppers are cool, remove from the bag and peel off the skins. Set each section on a serving dish. When you are ready to serve shred mozzarella on top of peppers and top with chopped basil. Finish with EVOO and salt and pepper.

Cherry Tomato & Edamame Salad (serves 4)
Courtesy of The Lee Brothers


2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound fresh or frozen shelled edamame
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
Black pepper to taste

Steam edamame until just tender, about five minutes. Drain and cool under water. Let dry. In a medium bowl, whisk together salt, buttermilk, garlic, and olive oil. Add soy beans, halved tomatoes and basil. Toss to coat and add pepper to taste.

Lamb Chops with Mint Salsa Verde (serves 4)
Courtesy Saveur Magazine

8 1″-thick lamb loin chops (about 2 lb)
3/4 cup EVOO
4 cups loosely packed mint, finely chopped
1 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and diced
4 tablespoons tarragon, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon, crushed red chili flakes
12 oil packed anchovy filets, drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Salt, pepper and oil lamb and set aside in a baking dish

Combine the mint, parsley, tarragon, capers, chile flakes, anchovies and garlic in a bowl. Slowly drizzle 3/4 cup olive oil into herbs while mixing. Set aside.

Set your grill to medium hot. Add chops and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes for medium rare (depending on thickness), flipping once.  Transfer lamb to a platter and drizzle sauce over chops.

This is a wonderful meal to share with friends. It is colorful, vibrant, beautiful and delicious. It is bursting with flavor, yet is so simple to put together. Take it outside and enjoy it with your friends and family. It may even become a part of your own ritual.