Monday, September 6, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Where to begin? It's been awhile since I've made an entry here and I'm sorry about that. I believe I also broke a promise to post the recipes from the BBQ back in July and I'm sorry for that as well. I was supposed to write those up on the plane traveling to Detroit but instead got sidetracked by the inflight movie selection. I'll make it up to you, I promise. I've decided to include more recipes in general so be prepared.

It was always a generic "back to school" assignment, an essay entitled, What I Did on My Summer Vacation. As a kid I remember this assignment to be excruciatingly painful because summer was over and why rub it in?

Funny that I return to that format for this blog post but I guess it's a lot more fun to recall things from an adult perspective- using photos to help in the process and now that drinking alcohol is allowed.

stylish service at the BBQ

The Feast BBQ turned out to be really great. It was during that heat wave we were having and I wondered if anyone was going to brave the steamy temps to eat our food- but they did! People brought their own blankets and water and we provided the rest. I had some bum coal to work with but with a little help from friends and our Turkish neighbor (who seemed to be a professional) it turned out fine. Oh, and the the nectarine white sangria was a big hit, chilling us out in every way. In the photo, Andrew laments over the dwindling sangria supply.

the old barn

First stop: my parents house.
It is a known fact that there is always a special meal prepared for all arriving family members and friends. My meal was grilled lamb chops, oven roasted potatoes and a green salad from the garden. Perfection. No, there aren't the world's smallest farm animals in that barn, just a few old Schwinns.

alberto & lamb chops

My Dad does the grilling- I'm not allowed to cook when I'm home. Not that they don't trust I will do a good job, rather they are certain that I will leave a disastrous trail of dirty pots and pans and mess. Well, it's true but I'm an artist, no? ;)

romeo fracassa designed bbq

This is a one-of-a-kind grill designed and made my my Uncle Romeo. Yep, that's a beer keg split in half, attached to a post which is connected to a hand poured cement base. This is the deluxe version with the lid- growing up we only had the bottom half of the keg. That one eventually got grilled to death.

michigan sunset

Next stop: Northern Michigan.
I was off to a family wedding in Bay Harbor, Michigan. I would have to devote an entire entry to this because it was such an unbelievably beautiful affair in every imaginable way. Instead, here is a sunset over Lake Michigan as the pre-wedding party was coming to a close.

view from the porch at pee wee

On to Pee Wee!
Named after my Mother (her childhood nickname) Pee Wee is the family cottage that my grandfather bought in St. Clair, Michigan sometime in the 1930's. Ever since then it has been passed down the line for all to enjoy. I spent pretty much every summer weekend here as a kid with aunts and uncles and a myriad of cousins and friends of the family. Those were great days but Pee Wee still gives us love and comfort, seemingly now more than ever. The next generation is swinging from the rope and jumping off the dock into the chilly, rushing river now but you'll find us big kids making the pilgrimage there whenever we possibly can. Long live Pee Wee!

hummus plus

An afternoon snack of grilled flat bread, hummus and minted cucumber tomato salad.


Grilled Red Snapper with fresh herbs and citrus. Remind me to get one of those fish shaped grill baskets for Pee Wee, it would have been much easier to flip 'er over.

Marlow & Daughters

Final Stop: NYC/Brooklyn
Just way too much good food to document here but I will let you in on an all time favorite. Thanks to a like minded, equally food loving friend, I have had the pleasure to dine at Diner on most of my visits over the last few years. This time, we walked down the street to Marlow & Daughters, the shop that has the same owners. It was quite a one stop, over the top shop with everything one could possible need for cooking up dinner at home. (phew... that was a long one.)

fresh butchering inside

There was something very "turn of the century" about this moment. This is what I would call getting up close and personal with your butcher.

dining at diner with JL

Damage done.

zucchini blossoms at the Turkish mrkt

Upon returning to Berlin, I was greeted by the last few days of summer (unfortunately that was the beginning of August) and made it over to the Turkish market off the canal. Perfect timing for zucchini flowers. Not pictured: those flowers sauteed with lots of garlic in extra virgin olive oil and served up on crusty Italian bread. Heavenly.

The End

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