Lemon-Thyme Croutons

Unable to finish up the entire loaf of Wave Hill bread we got at the farmers' market on Sunday, we decided to make homemade croutons. We cubed the leftover bread and tossed it in a bowl with Tastefully Simple's Meyer Lemon Infused Oil and about two tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme. We spread the cubes on a baking sheet and baked for an hour at 300, leaving them in the turned-off-oven for an additional hour to cool. Crunchy, zesty, lemony -- they were a great addition to our fresh-from-the-garden salad. It's so satisfying to eat food that is home-grown!!!


Sage and White Pepper Pork Chops

After picking up some beautiful fingerling potatoes and a pound of fresh green beans at the Coventry Farmers' Market, we decided to dish these sides up with well-seasoned grilled pork chops. We sprinkled the chops with salt and white pepper, then drizzled a bit of olive oil on them. Then we proceeded to rub them with fresh sage from our garden. We grilled them to medium and plated them up with a sage leaf garnish and our side dishes. The result? Exactly what we hoped for - seasonal, herby, delicious. The white pepper was a nice change from our usualy black pepper and the sage rub went very well with the pork.

Fried Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Within the past decade at this time of year, I have been fortunate enough to have been in Rome three times. And each time, I was blessed with enjoying an abundance of my favorite Roman snack, fried zucchini blossoms. My first time was with Chris, on the vacation to Tuscany during which we got engaged. He convinced me that these treats were nothing like their ultimate product, knowing I'm no fan of any type of squash. I tried them and was forever in love with Chris and his crispy fried stuffed flowers.

Our neighbor planted zucchini this year and, lucky for us, he has more than he can handle. He permitted us to take some blossoms, and we made them here at home, making sure to bring him a couple to taste. He loved them too, and we now have permission to pick whenever we like, as long as we share. Here's our recipe which makes eight blossoms:


8 squash blossoms, rinsed well
1 large ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into thin strips about as long as the flowers
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash cayenne pepper
oil for frying

Fill a frying pan up to about 1/2 inch with oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, stuff the blossoms with the strips of mozzarella. Make an egg wash by beating the egg and water together. Then mix together the flour, salt, paprika, black and red pepper in a shallow dish. When the oil is hot enough for frying, dip each blossom first in the egg wash, then in the flour mixture, and gently place it in the oil. Avoid crowding the blossoms - if the pan isn't large enough, do this is two batches of four. Cook each blossom approximately two minutes on each side, then let rest on a paper towel. Eat the entire thing while it's hot!


Two-Night Lobster Feast

It was Saturday night. We just returned from a peaceful, relaxing week at the beach in Maine with two four-pound lobsters in a cardboard box marked "perishable" and big appetites from a long afternoon's drive. After quickly bringing in all of our luggage, Chris put salted water in the turkey fryer/seafood boiler to boil and I got to work prepping dishes, lobster crackers, paper towels, and butter. We steamed the ginormous crustaceans for about 20 minutes, let them cool, and went to work releasing the succulent meat from its hard red shell. When we were sated, we realized we had plenty of lobster leftover so we wrapped it carefully, put it in the fridge, and started to think about what to do with it before falling into a food coma on the couch.

Then it was Monday night. Earlier that afternoon we received in the mail Jessica Strand's cookbook Cooking for Two and while flipping through it, saw a recipe for "Split Broiled Lobster with Lime Butter and Celery Root Remoulade." We hadn't yet been food shopping, but we did have lots of leftover lobster, a garden full of fresh herbs, some butter and a lone lime in the fruit drawer. We decided to make what we're calling "Lazy Lobster Leftovers" with the two tails, two claws, and bits of knuckle meat we have. This is our recipe, adapted from Strand's. It was an easy, decadent meal with a summery citrus zing, and it put our leftovers to great use.


leftover lobster (approximate equivalent to the meat of two one-pounders)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup panko
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
juice of one lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks and place in a casserole dish. Set aside. In a small saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter with the sliced garlic. Remove the garlic as it starts to become fragrant and before it begins to brown. To the melted butter add the panko and stirring, cook over medium heat until the panko begins to look toasty. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, give another stir and turn off the heat. Spread the butter and breadcrumb mixture over the lobster meat and bake for 15 minutes. Melt the remaining butter with the lime juice and drizzle it over the top of the breadcrumbs. Broil for three to four minutes and then serve with a fresh garden salad.


Baked Feta Appetizer

While waitressing in New Orleans, I jotted down many a recipe from a kind chef or two. This one, called "Baked Feta" is an easy, tasty appetizer from Semolina's, a small pasta chain in the South. Chris and I love to have this as an appetizer with good Italian bread from our favorite local bakery, Iuliano's, or as an accompaniment to a side salad for lunch. It's the simplest thing ever, and it amazes me sometimes that I hadn't thought of it myself. You put some crumbled feta cheese in a small baking dish and top it with marinara sauce. Then you bake it (we put it under the salamander at the restaurant; a broiler would work as well) for about 15 minutes, until the cheese gets all melty and incorporated into the sauce. Top it off with some chiffonaded basil, for a fancier presentation and dip your bread into it. Please stay tuned, for I'll be catching up on our recent culinary adventures asap.



In case you haven't figured it out, I (Amy) am the half of "A Couple" who usually does the writing, which I clearly haven't done in a while. The end of the school year, and thus, the second half of June, went by in a blur of papers, exams, coffee and take-out for both of us, who are high school teachers in "real" life. Since then, I have devoted my time to two separate week-long professional development/personal enrichment activities. While one was on the West Coast, and one on the East, I've essentially been living the last fortnight in college dorm rooms, relegated to eating in campus dining halls. Which is to say, as far as food goes, I don't have much to say. There were a couple of shiny happy meals, however - and, while one was on the West Coast and one was on the East, I haven't had much time to write. As soon as I can, I'll catch up on those. Until then, cheers!