Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Supper #1

One of my favorite days growing up was Sunday. The threat of Monday morning and the return to school was certainly trumped by the delicious anticipation of Sunday dinner. My mother is a great cook, but no night was better than Sunday - for Sunday she pulled out all of the stops.

I have held on to this tradition and have tried my very best to keep it as my own. So last Sunday I did a full on Sunday Dinner for us and our good friends Lindsey and Jesse.

On the menu was:

Fresh baked pain a l'ancienne (country bread) with Irish butter
Marinated Flank Steak
Tomates a la creme
Baby dumpling quash and potato mash

and last, but certainly not least,
Blackberry Pie

The bread was really fun to make, though it is definitely an all-day process with the multiple rising times and all. The end result was fantastic though - especially slathered with some of the buttery goodness.

The steak is an old standby, but when paired with the tomates a la creme (creamy tomatoes) it was superb, hence recipe to follow. I made the squash and potato mash because we received the baby dumplings in our weekly CSA box and I wasn't quite sure what to do with them in the heat of mashing them in with potatoes it was and the result was velvetty sweetness, a little too sweet for my taste, but the guests loved it.

Lastly came the pie. I happen to love blackberry pie, especially in summer as it seems to pinpoint the very essence of my youth. Pie crust is always a daunting task and there are many philosophies on what ingredients make the best pies. One of my all time favorite cookbooks, The Best Recipe put together by Cooks Illustrated, suggests that a mixture of veggie shortening and butter makes the flakiest tastiest crust. I, however, had no shortening on hand so I went the all-butter route. I would have to agree with them though that it wasn't as flaky as I would have liked, but tasted good all the same.

Another pie item discussed in The Best Recipe is what type of pie pan to use. They say that the Pyrex glass pie pans are the best for even baking of the top and bottom crust, but a metal pie pan does a pretty good job too - you just can't see the status of your bottom crust as you can with the Pyrex. I naturally threw these rules by the wayside and went with my super-cute ceramic pie pan that I just love! And lo and behold, my bottom crust did not get cooked through and I was reminded that The Best Recipe is most often right.

The pie was good nonetheless and made breakfast for several mornings thereafter - I LOVE pie for breakfast.

And thus ends, another Sunday supper at the Red Door.


Tomates a la Creme

4-5 tomatoes, halved
3-5 oz of heavy cream
1 large pat of butter
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the pan at medium heat. Put the tomato halves in cut-faced down and cook for five minutes. Poke many holes in the rounded sides of the tomato to allow juices to flow. Flip the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream and salt and pepper and cook for another five minutes. Serve immediately, very hot.

The result is a creamy, saucy dish that does a great job of being a gravy for the steak and potatoes.

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