They say our friends are the family we choose. Denise, who Joan and Steve like to call their third daughter, recently came to visit for a month and instantly resumed her place in their family. She’s been a part of their lives ever since she was 16 years old, first babysitting for Joan and Steve’s daughters, later living with them for her last two years of college. A professor now at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, this summer she came “home” to write, to cook, to be family again. Denise and Joan have a shorthand in the kitchen; they work seamlessly together, peeling, chopping, sautéing, grilling, taking turns being each other’s sous chef and sharing their favorite recipes. Thirty nights, (almost) thirty dinners. But we’ll just share a couple of the very best with you.
|Denise makes this dinner often in the summer and the chicken dish all year-long. The chicken and the berries can be made a few hours ahead of time. Perfect for a summer lunch as well:
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Arugula and Olive Thyme Vinaigrette
Cherry Tomato, Hearts of Palm, and Avocado Salad
A delicious quick prep salad adapted from Diane Worthington’s A Taste of Summer cookbook. We added an avocado for texture, flavor, and color.
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained, thoroughly rinsed, and thinly sliced
2 avocados, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine the tomatoes and hearts of palm in a medium mixing bowl. Add the avocados and gently combine. Add the basil, vinegar, olive oil, salt , and pepper and gently combine. Taste for seasoning and serve.
From Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa
4 pints (8 cups) fresh strawberries, sliced thick
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pints vanilla ice cream, for serving
Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving
Thirty minutes to an hour before serving, combine the strawberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside at room temperature. Place a serving of the strawberries in a bowl with a scoop of ice cream on top and dust lightly with lemon zest.