Tastes of the Week

June 27 through July 3,2011 Lovely meals at abckitchen and Hell's Kitchen(44th and 10th) -- Mon. and Tues. respectively.

Great charcuterie from the Brooklyn Larder (especially the funky chorizo) at the book party of Alex Prud'homme (grand-nephew of Julia Child). Alex, who wrote the sensational book about the love affair of Julia and Paul Child named "My Life in France," just wrote a very important tome called "The Ripple Effect" -- about the global importance of water.  Beginning now, he advises us (and the world) to be mindful of what is to become our most valuable resource.

At a lovely picnic dinner, overlooking the Hudson River, across from West Point, our hosts Peter and Bill (along with friends Diana and Bryan), served a beautiful chicken salad with lettuces from the Cold Spring Farmer's Market, a lovely brown rice salad, and a fresh corn salad.  But it was dessert that made me swoon. A bowl of enormous raspberries mixed with tiny cream puffs filled with ice cream and showered with powdered sugar.  It was elegant as all get-out.

The 3rd of July brought a simple summer lunch -- after all, we are borrowing a friend's house in Garrison, NY and brought up a limited number of ingredients. Our makeshift meal included summer tomatoes and cucumbers, enlivened with a lemony vinaigrette with fresh thyme (and thyme flowers), served with dense grilled bread (actually they were slices of delicious square wholewheat rolls from Key Food!), thickly spread with a combo of boursin cheese and fresh goat cheese. Grilled chicken with za'atar on a bed of arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, oil-cured olives and steamed wax beans. Dessert?  The plumpest, moistest, Medjool dates (the size of a linebacker's thumb) brought home just the other day by my husband from his trip to Abu Dhabi.  With it, shards of very good Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not bad at all for a rained-out parade day.  The combination of the dates and parm was truly outstanding and a radically fabulous way to end a meal.

Tonight we are going to our friends' house, also in Garrison, who are making one of their favorite recipes -- which happens to be mine -- but I'm dying to try their version. It's a three-ingredient pot roast made with pounds of red onions and dry vermouth.  Can't wait.  Thank you to Diana Carulli and Bryan Dunlap.

And Happy July 4th to all.