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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tomato and Squash Gratin

Yet another way to enjoy the bounty of summer!
2 pounds tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ medium or 1 small onion
  • ½ pound summer squash (1 good-size zucchini, for example), cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
  • 1 cup cooked rice, farro or barley
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ounces Gruy√®re cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons slivered or chopped fresh basil leaves              
    1. Peel and seed half the tomatoes, and chop fine. Slice the rest and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until it is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the squash is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the thyme, season with salt and pepper, raise the heat slightly and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have cooked down and smell fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the rice or other grains and remove from the heat.
    3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked vegetables, salt and pepper to taste, and the cheese and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish.
    4. Slice the remaining tomatoes and cover the top of the gratin in one layer. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the basil over the top. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. 

    Saturday, August 19, 2017

    Rum Sidecar

    I do not usually do much for Father's Day but this year I gave my spouse, who is really a top notch Dad, a set of really nice cocktail glasses, and between that, and a nice exposure to an interesting range of cocktails on our summer vacations this year, has led to an explosion of new and interesting cocktails, some of them complicated and some of them very simple, like this one.  Which is delicious.

    • 1 1/2 ounces golden rum
    • 3/4 ounce Cointreau or other triple sec
    • 3/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
    In a cocktail shaker combine the ingredients with cracked ice and shake vigorously, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass with its rim rubbed with lemon lemon juice then dipped into sugar.

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Walking in the Mission

    On a recent trip to San Francisco we stayed at this wonderful bead and breakfast in the Mission.  Breakfast is not a great meal to have included for us, so we skipped that part two out of three days, but the location was terrific.  There are so many beautiful pre-1906 Earthquake houses that still stand, in various states of repair, throughout the neighborhood.
    There are several reasons to stay a bit more off the beaten track if you don't need to get to the Convention Center every day.  The first for me is that there are great restaurants in the neighborhood.  I don't mind walking during the day to get where I want to be,but I prefer to eat nearby.  There are a couple of BART stops, so it is as easy to get around as from other locations from that point of view. The Mission is also just funkier.  If you prefer corporate, this is not the place for you.  But if you like a dive burrito place and an independent art gallery on your block, the Mission is perfect.  It is also relatively flat (for San Francisco), so you don't have to strategize your hills when on foot.  It is also just plain fun in a great city full of fun neighborhoods.