Thank You Dinner

If you are a close friend or family member of mine and you offer me help in a time of need, there’s a good chance your thank you will come in the form of food. My soon-to-be sister-in-law Lindsay loaned me her car for four days so that Emily and I weren’t without a car while Joe made a trip to Chicago to tend to our condo. Joe didn’t get home until late on the evening that Lindsay needed her car back, so my brother drove her up to get it on a Tuesday after work. Since they were coming at dinner time, I figured cooking them dinner would be a great way to say thank you and to hopefully make the trip up to our place feel a little more worth-while.

Although I’m excited to get back to work, I admit I will miss having the opportunity to cook a meal like this on a Tuesday night. As an antipasti, I made stuffed cherry peppers. These were inspired by the stuffed peppers I used to buy at Pastoral in the French Market in Chicago. I found a jar of sweet and spicy cherry peppers at Trader Joe’s and knew I had to make up a recipe of my own. I mixed goat cheese, ricotta, a mix of fresh herbs and lemon juice and stuffed the peppers. They turned out sweet, spicy, creamy and delicious! The recipe can be found under the recipe section of this blog, or at the below link:

http://italianmidwestern.com/recipes/antipasto/stuffed-cherry-peppers/

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For the primi piatti, I made a tomato and corn custard pie. I found this recipe in the September 2014 issue of the Food Network Magazine. To be honest, I used needing to thank Lindsay for using her car as an excuse to make this pie. It was SO GOOD. I bought fresh sweet corn and an amazing (and huge) tomato from a local farm stand. The quality of corn and tomatoes used makes all the difference in this recipe and it is certainly no coincidence this recipe was in the September issue of this magazine since this is the best time of year for corn and tomatoes. I will likely find a reason to make this pie at the end of every summer. It was so creamy and decadent but also really highlighted the flavors of the corn and tomatoes. It was so good!

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Lastly, I served my own version of tagliata di manza (strips of beef) as the secondi piatti. I fired up the big green egg and grilled a flank steak that I had marinaded in olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. I served it as we experienced in Italy, with an arugula salad, shaved parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Such a simple and delicious dish!

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