I’m counting down the days until our vacation! We haven’t gone on a long vacation in a while, and I’m not sure if this is even considered a long vacation, but it’s almost a full week! It’s always weird to be gone more than a couple of days. First, Kramer and I are taking the train down to Washington D.C. to spend two days. I’ve never been there before, and I even found a hotel with a pool, so I’m excited. My first stop is definitely going to be the National Museum of American History – that’s the museum with all of the old movie props and whatnot. Clearly that is a priority. I suppose we’ll hit up the Air and Space Museum, too, but other than that, I just want to chill out by the pool, walk around and have some good food. My brother Dane is meeting Kramer and me out there, too. He’s in Baltimore studying at the University of Maryland, so it’ll be good to see him. Dane isn’t meeting us until Saturday, though, so Kramer and I are trying to decide what fancy restaurant we should go to on Friday night. Does anyone have any suggestions? After DC, on Sunday, the three of us are driving from to the Outer Banks in North Carolina to stay at a beach house with Kramer’s dad and the rest of his family. I can’t wait to go to the beach, sit down and not move for hours. There’s a pool at the house, too, so we will be enjoying the best of both worlds. I’ve mapped out a few BBQ pit-stops along the way, but again, I am open to any and all suggestions.
My awesome Nirvana/Hansen shirt, chowing down at Dickson’s Farmstand, watching the experts do a little butchering, and walking around downtown Williamsburg.
Some of the photos I’m sharing today come from the class that Kramer and I took last week at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats. I saw an article about the class on First We Feast a month or two ago and was completely sold on the class. I’m a married, privileged, middle-class woman, so of course I enjoy taking cooking classes. We’ve taken a few at The Brooklyn Kitchen, so it was strange going somewhere else, but we really had the best time. We got to watch the pros break down and butcher a whole big, learned about the charcuterie making process, watched their head butcher break down pork chops like she was slicing through butter, and made our own sausages. We also ate our weight in sausage, pastrami, house made bologna, pork chops and more. I was honestly stuffed by the time we left. We also drank plenty of rose and beer. The class was $70 and I felt like I had a gourmet meal and a show all rolled into one. If you’re in New York or the surrounding area, I promise that they didn’t pay me to say this – you should really go. It was a fantastic time, plus, the butchering area is freezing cold so it’s a great thing to do in the dead of summer.
Speaking of keeping cool, as you may have guessed, there’s nothing I adore more in the summer than an icy cold glass of white wine. I love seeing the condensation collect on the glass, picking it up and taking a refreshing sip of a crisp, juicy white. Kramer used to eschew white wine when we would go out, but after seeing how delicious a big, cold glass looks, he’s started ordering it for himself. So, when Bridlewood contacted me and asked if I’d create a recipe for their Chardonnay, I said, “Yes, please!” I promise that I wasn’t mad that I had to do a little wine tasting to come up with my recipe. While sampling the California wines, I was happy and relaxed, so I wanted to cook something that wouldn’t eat up (haw haw haw) too much of my time. I landed on a simple, summery squid salad. The process is simple: quickly cook your squid in boiling water for 60 seconds, dunk in ice water to stop the cooking process and be sure that your squid stays tender, then toss with a little olive oil, jalapeño, lime juice and avocado. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so that the flavors develop, add a little salt and pepper to taste, and that’s it. I threw this together one night after work, then poured Kramer and myself big glasses of Chardonnay – the citrusy notes in the wine complimented the salad perfectly, so we may or may not have finished the whole bottle on a Thursday night. They do call it Thirsty Thursday, right? I know we’re not in college anymore, but sometimes when it’s humid and hot outside, my brain starts to fog over and the only sure is a refreshing summer meal and a chilled glass of white wine!
The pig before it was butchered at Dickson’s, some beautiful pork chops, rubbing some meat and an A+ label on a container at the shop.
Chop all of your ingredients, except for the squid, and set aside.
Clean your squid well, then chop and cook for 60 seconds or so.
Drop your cooked squid in ice water to stop the cooking process and to cool it down.
Drain your squid from the ice water and set aside.
Toss the squid with the rest of your ingredients.
Refrigerate for a few hours before serving or serve immediately.
- 1 pound fresh squid, cleaned
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 avocado, cubed
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Halve the squid tentacles and cut the tops into ½-inch thick rings. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add the squid and cook for 60-90 seconds, until opaque. Remove the squid and place in an ice bath to stop the squid from cooking any further. Drain and set aside.
- Combine shallots, jalapeños, lime juice, bell pepper, cilantro and olive oil and toss. Add in the cooked and chilled squid, avocado, salt and red pepper flakes. Toss and taste, then adjust for seasonings as you see fit. Serve alongside tortilla chips or crusty bread and a chilled glass of Bridlewood Chardonnay!