Saturday, July 30, 2011

the aunties (and uncles)

I had the pleasure of making lunch for two of my aunts and uncles on Friday.  It's always good to spend time with my mother's brothers and sisters, but this was special as we had Aunt Francis, from North Carolina, whom we rarely see.  The first to arrive was my Uncle Billy, who brought flowers.  Such a sweet man!
Don't they look wonderful?  They have each lost their spouse, but they are happy to be together, trying to go forward and enjoy life on life's terms.  And the flowers were delightful - zinnias and sunflowers, down to earth, nothing exotic, simple and beautiful - 
I made that solitary bouquet into three vases of loveliness -
Soon after, Aunt Francis arrived with Aunt Carole and her husband Uncle Ronnie.
Aunt Francis is the oldest sibling -
She always reminds me of my mother - kind hearted, funny, stubborn and quirky.  Aunt Carole is the youngest daughter and she is just a peach, always willing to help, and laughter at the ready!
Her daughter is Lori, my artist cousin that I often write about here.
Anyway - I made a good hearty lunch.  We had cucumbers (from my garden) in sour cream and dill, mom's incomparable German potato salad, baked beans, a glorious antipasti sandwich and an authentic nicoise salad.  I won't even tell you how hard it was to find those nicoise olives - but well worth the trouble.
Leftovers - tender new red potatoes combined with steamed green beans, red onion, tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, tuna and anchovies, nicoise olives, parsley - drizzled with homemade vinagrette.  Delicious.  But what I really want to talk about is that sandwich - that amazing antipasti boat!  I have no pictures as it was eaten so quickly,but let me tell you about it.

First off, you make the bean paste - cannellini beans in the food processor with good olive oil and fresh lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and two cups of the bread that you have scraped from your french loaf.  TRY not to sample that concoction!  Then you begin to layer the sliced loaf.  A zucchini from the garden, sliced unspeakably thin and salted and drained.  1/2 pound of the best baked ham.  1/2 pound of glorious prosciutto - nestled between the ham slices.  Fresh parsley, marinated artichoke hearts, pepperoncini, shaved parmesan and roasted red peppers.  And believe me, there is NOTHING like the peppers that you roast yourself!

Everything goes together and is sealed in saran and weighted down in the refrigerator for a few hours.  You could substitute any kind of meat that you like - or go vegan!

We finished with a Barefoot Contessa lemon loaf - with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and fresh raspberries.  This is all that was left to bring home to Scott!
I am especially fond of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  She goes a little heavy handed with the butter and cream, but her recipes are divine and I just like her vibe.  My mom and I used to watch her in the afternoons, while sitting with my dad at the nursing home.  Her show was comforting, and inspiring.  She always gave me something simply hopeful - the reassurance that life went on, despite the horrors of old age and disease and memories lost.  In that small room we leaned forward and listened and watched as she created magic with dollops of creme fraiche and scarlet fleshed salmon and exquisitely tiny asparagus stems.  Bon appetit!


Delisa said...

Hi Jody! What a lovely post. How wonderful that your family could come together for a little reunion. It looks like you are all having a great time. My goodness the food looks so fresh and delicious! I wish I could cut a little piece of that cake! (Well actually I think I would like a big piece, well maybe two small pieces, or three?) :) I hope you have a fun saturday night! Delisa :)

Darlene said...

Such beautiful memories to hold dear. Enjoy them and the times you share.

JelliDonut said...

This was lovely! Thank you so much for sharing it.

Paulina said...

I am going to write down your recipe for that sandwich. I can't eat it, but George will. I am going to take that filling and maybe use it with a cold pasta I think. It just sounds like that would work, do you think? And the flowers. There is nothing like a flower to light up a room no matter how simple. I just love you!!

SusanB-knits said...

I just ate breakfast and I'm hungry again after reading and seeing all that wonderful food. It is so nice to have a wonderful meal with family.

Suz said...

you're such a lucky gal to have such a wonderful family for a visit
Your food looks yummy
how I wish I could have a taste of German potato favorite
I like quirky

Denise said...

That sandwich, wow! Mouth-watering. I'm not surprised there are no pictures. Want one!