Sunday Family Dinner

The Birthday Boys GO BIG!

April 2019 Fam Din
What can I say about these two dudes?

Not only do they share a birthmonth but they also share a special connection – they’re the best of buds.

And they also share a similar sensibility of foods….

More on that later.

April 2019 Fam Din
To kick off Fam Din, we needed cocktails….something of the tropical nature as a nod to my BIL C.

April 2019 Fam Din
And what evokes “tropical” than a big batch of Blended Passionfruit Margaritas??

April 2019 Fam Din
Aren’t they lovely?

Slightly sweet, super tart and packed a punch that you don’t see coming.

April 2019 Fam Din
As for the food menu, the birthday dudes pretty much wanted ALL THINGS SEAFOOD!

Lobster, crabs, calamari….

I mean, no complaints here!

April 2019 Fam Din
First appetizer was per C’s request – Crispy Calamari with Marinara Sauce.

April 2019 Fam Din
V took the lead with this and we inhaled a few trays of them.

April 2019 Fam Din
C also wanted LOBSTAH!

Seester steamed several lobsters and shelled them. Look at all of those chunks of gorgeous meat!

April 2019 Fam Din
But hey–we just didn’t enjoy the meat.

Seester T took also took the lobster “tomalley”, aka “lobster fat” and mixed it with mayo and spices to create these decadent Lobster Tomalley Crostini.

SUPER scrumptious and a great way to use all parts of the lobster.

April 2019 Fam Din
Then it was time to get the Littlings‘ involved — even if Lucasaurus was one of the birthday boys.

April 2019 Fam Din
We had them trim greens beans that seestrah T used later to make Stir-Fried Garlic Green Beans. It’s a veggie dish that even the munchkins enjoy!

April 2019 Fam Din
Now back to some decadence….

If you’ve been following my Instagram, you saw that a few months ago, I finally got to try Beef Ribeye Cap Steaks – a beef cut that I’ve been coveting for a LONG time.

April 2019 Fam Din

The cap is the top, most tender and marbleized portion that runs above the ribeye steak.

It is so beefy, so packed with flavor….it’s incredible.

So although neither birthday boy explicitly requested it, we knew it would be a hit with them and asked brother V to cook some of up on the cast iron.

April 2019 Fam Din
After they had rested a bit, Nini sliced them up….

And she had a couple of onlookers — just in case she had dropped anything on the floor.

April 2019 Fam Din
Take a gander!

April 2019 Fam Din
Oh!

I almost forgot about these!

I decided to grill up some spears because they looked quite lovely that morning.

April 2019 Fam Din
After I pulled them off the grill, I topped them with a quick dressing I had made earlier to deepen their flavors.

Grilled Asparagus with Salsa Verde – awesome alongside any summertime meal.

April 2019 Fam Din
Lucas had two requests for dinner….crabs and mint chip ice cream.

Well actually, he also wanted plain rice too.

Our little Asian dude….

April 2019 Fam Din
Initially we were going to pick up several Dungeness crabs to steam up but when we got to the store—no Dungeness crabs were to be found!

DOH!

April 2019 Fam Din
So we took a quick run to Costco and picked up a few pounds of Alaskan King Crab Legs …. and as it turns out, those are actually Lucasaurus‘ fave.

April 2019 Fam Din
CAUGHT!

Fam on their devices during Fam Din!

BUSTED!

April 2019 Fam Din
We’ll give them a pass this time.

Back in the kitchen we returned our attention to the huge bowl of lobster meat.

April 2019 Fam Din
And with the assist of her kiddos, seester N created this STUNNING platter of Lobster Rolls.

April 2019 Fam Din
I know….

Calamari, Tomalley Crostinis, Ribeye Caps, King Crab….

April 2019 Fam Din
And now, Lobster Rolls, too?!?

I have no excuses….

…because I was too busy eating….

April 2019 Fam Din
Our plates, quite literally, ran over.

April 2019 Fam Din
Will these munchkins ever understand that eating like this isn’t “normal” for most 6-10 year olds?

But I’m okay with that because I’m banking that they’ll make these kinds of dishes for me when I’m 80 years old.

April 2019 Fam Din
Here’s Leia patiently waiting for us to finish dinner so that we could start the next episode of Game of Thrones.

April 2019 Fam Din
And then it was dessert time!

My nephew/godbebe doesn’t enjoy cake. He likes donuts and mint chip ice cream….the green kind.

For his birthday dessert, I made him a quick Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie.

April 2019 Fam Din
The base was an Oreo cookie crust and then it was filled with mint chip ice cream. I topped it with fresh whipped cream, Andes mint chocolates (a nod to our Grandpa who used to give them to us as kiddos when we were good) and chunks of a new Oreo-Mint candy bar.

But here’s my confession…

I DIDN’T MAKE THE CRUST – IT WAS STORE BOUGHT!

We were running around that morning with so many errands that by the time I got to the store, I just picked up the crust thinking that it would save me time.

But when I used it…THE GUILT!

Really!! It would have taken me all of 15 minutes to make the crust but I took the short cut. Which I get…is fine in most cases. But I felt so guilty and came clean to everyone….. I made a vow to make it up at the next dinner.

April 2019 Fam Din
As for C….the man loves him some green tea. So this oldie but goodie came out again — Green Tea Match Tiramisu.

April 2019 Fam Din

Needless to say, these dude were very happy with their Birthday Menu. And how could they not – it was all decadently delicious!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lucas and C! 

April 2019 Fam Din

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Blended Passionfruit Margaritas
Appetizers: Crispy Calamari with Marinara Sauce, Lobster Tomalley Crostini
Entree: Beef Ribeye Cap Steaks, Alaskan King Crab Legs, Lobster Rolls
Sides: Stir-Fried Garlic Green Beans, Grilled Asparagus with Salsa Verde, Steamed Rice
Dessert: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie, Green Tea Match Tiramisu

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Sunday Family Dinner

Our Fishermen Bring it in for Family Dinner!

Fishing Wknd.2

Several weeks ago we sent our boys out to reel us in some fish.

Well actually, they didn’t go on our bidding but rather my B.I.L.(s)–brothers in law, took off for their annual deep sea fishing trip off the coast of San Diego.

But BOY, oh BOY did they come through!

In years past, they’d come back with some beautiful fish (mostly tunas) that would immediately be inhaled as sashimi, poke and other forms of sushi. Sure, we’d keep a few fillets in the freezer for a rainy day but those, too, would quickly disappear.

Fishing Wknd

But this year, those boys must have been doing some crazy praying to Poseidon because it was raining Dorado and Yellowfin for them!

Look at all of those beauties!!!

Someone pass me some soy sauce and wasabi because I’d totally be Gollum up in there!

Don’t judge my LOTR reference….

Fishing Wknd.3

The entire haul was split up among all of the guys on the boat but it still left each person with a hefty amount of Yellowfins and Dorados.

Heaven…….

With all of the beautifully fresh and wonderful fish, our theme for Family Dinner was born.

Simple really—we wanted to focus on creating dishes that were fresh and in season.

Fishing Wknd.4And as always, it started off with cocktails. Because cocktails make the world go round….at least we like to think so.

Since it’s Autumn (despite the 80 degree weather we’re having), I decided to serve up a bunch of Apple Moscow Mules. They’re super easy to make and I love how it’s a delicious spin on one of my favorite cocktails.

Apple Moscow MuleSeester T also served up some Champagne Cocktails which was essentially chilled sparkling wine with about an ounce of elderflower cordial. The cordial adds a lovely floral profile to the cocktail. Since elderflower cordial can be a bit on the sweeter side, I’d recommend choosing a brut sparkling wine to balance it.

Wondering how Champagne is seasonal in the Fall?

Champagne season is year round silly.

CocktailLobster season begins in late September here in California.

And since my family gravitates towards lobsters like teenage girls to a Taylor Swift concert, it had to be on the menu in some shape or form.

Lobster2
Sweet, tender and just so damn good.

LobsterSeestrah N chose to make little Chipotle Lobster & Avocado Sliders using Kings Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

In all honestly, I would have been happy with 2-3 of these beauties and call it a day. But we’re gluttons during Family Dinner– so we noshed on them as appetizers to tie us over.

Lobster RollOf the two catches the boys brought home, we chose to serve the Dorado over the Yellowfin.

Dorado, commonly known as mahimahi or dolphinfish, isn’t a fish that I have too often. Rarely when I do order it out, it’s either in a fish taco or prepared with some type of blacken Cajun seasonings. So when T said she was going to grill it, I thought–heck, if you say so.

She marinated the fillets in a clarified butter-anchovy-capers-herb mixture before the boys grilled them. The Dorado was then finished with some of the sauce it was marinated in and then topped with chopped parsley.

It was awesome.

Surprisingly moist and tender—nothing like I’ve ever experienced with Dorado before. I’m certain it has to do with how fresh the fish was but I am definitely going to give it another try next time I see it on a menu.

SFD

T served the fish with a warm Cannellini Bean and Arugula Salad. The vinaigrette had some of the same ingredients as the fish marinade but she also added briny olives and crunchy diced celery. It was a wonderful light pairing to the Dorado.

On a side note, the leftover salad was fantastic the next morning with a runny fried egg on top. Brunch goals and all…..

Cannelini SaladAnd finally, Dessert.

I knew I wanted to make some sort of fruit tart since the prior few Family Dinners were all chocolate desserts. The week leading up to Family Dinner, I had seen figs EVERYWHERE at my markets in San Diego. Because of it, I was inspired to make a Pistachio-Fig Tart filled with a Marscapone Cream.

But when I had gone up to Orange County for the weekend for dinner, I couldn’t find figs for the life of me! I had gone to 5 different stores in search of them but apparently they must have all gone to San Diego on vacation.

N had convinced me to go with plums instead since it was nearing the end of its season. It wasn’t too bad. Although I had grilled the plums, we all agreed that it would have been better had I sprinkled it with sugar and brûléed it. Still, the flavor was good–despite the elusive figs.

Tart

All in all, it was a great Family Dinner and was even on the lighter side…..for us, at least 🙂

BIG THANKS to my B.I.L.s for bringing in the greatest catch for us to date!

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This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Apple Moscow Mules and Champagne Cocktails
Appetizers: Chipotle Lobster and Avocado Sliders
Entrees: Grilled Herb Butter Mahi Mahi with Cannellini Bean & Arugula Salad
Dessert: Pistachio-Plum Tart with Marscapone Cream

Sunday Family Dinner

New England Inspired Sunday Family Dinner

Lobster-tinis

And it all started with these at our New England inspired Sunday Family Dinner.

Don’t they look ridiculous? RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME!

When we began toying around menu themes for October’s Sunday Family Dinner, my seester T was hell-bent on a New England spread that featured these beauties—

LOBSTER MARTINIS!

October 2013 Family Dinner

Now before you cringe, I recognize that these cocktails aren’t for everyone. But if you, like many of us, enjoy a deliciously dirty–extra dirty martini, then you’ll adore these.

The Lobster Martinis are made with vodka, lemon juice and most importantly— “lobster essence”.  Lobster essence is an incredibly concentrated lobster stock that is slowly reduced down until it creates liquid lobstah goodness!

Throw it all in a shaker over ice and shake-shake-shake before straining into a glass that’s been garnished with a lobstah claw. Divine!

As for the food, we kept things actually quite low key. Nothing crazy elaborate but just darn delicious. And since we were in New England, we had to have Crab Cakes!

Crab Cakes

Instead of larger patties that I usually make, I formed little cakes so we could nibble on while we put out the other dishes. Click here for the recipe

And in case you’re wondering, my family has Minnesota roots and it’s where I was born. So although we’re struggling this season, we HAD to represent our Vikings as they played those dang cheeseheads that day.

October 2013 Family Dinner

Next up– White Clam Pizza!

Now here’s my confession. We kind of had a crazy morning the day of our Fam-Din and I initially forgot to pick up the fresh clams. So I scrambled to the grocery store with my niece Nina and fixed that problem. After all, what’s a Fam-Din without a snafu or two?

Speaking of Nina, she pretty much took charge of this entire dish. I say this all of the time but when most teenagers struggle with making a peanut butter sandwich, our nieces are fixing up dishes like paella and artisan pizzas. We’re so proud!!!

And the pizza was scrumdiddlyumptious!

Clam Pizza

I just adore our munchkins and can’t wait for our other little ones — Luna and Leo–to come back for the holidays.

October 2013 Family Dinner

What’s a New England menu without Lobstah Rolls?!

Lightly dressed and overflowing with lobstah glory–just perfect!

Lobster Rolls

Mo’ lobstah, mo’ betta’!

Huh…maybe that will be the name of my next food blog? 🙂

October 2013 Family Dinner

And finally, dessert.

Boston Cream Pie!

But I hope you’re pronouncing “Boston” like a true New Englander.

Say it with me now! Baaah-stin’

Boston Cream Pie

Seester P worked with Nini and Maya to create this Boston Cream Pie using a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. And if you’ve ever attempted an America’s Test Kitchen recipe, you know how laborious it can be—-delicious, but laborious.

October 2013 Family Dinner

So I was so impressed with how meticulous Nini and Maya took each step as they created it. It resulted in a wonderful sponge cake filled with a beautiful pastry cream and then coated with a thin layer of ganache. YUM!

Wicked awesome, yea?

October 2013 Family Dinner

A close to another delicious and food coma induced Sunday Family Dinner –that’s a wrap!

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Lobster Martinis
Appetizers: Crab Cakes, White Clam Pizza
Entrees: Lobster Rolls
Dessert: Boston Cream Pie

Seafood

Lobstah, Lobstah…..Lobster Rolls!

Lobster Rolls

With every trip to NYC, I must stop by Luke’s to pick up a Lobstah Roll. So flippin’ good, I can hardly stand it!!

Their lobstah is lightly seasoned and has just a tad of mayo to hold things together. Wonderfully straightforward and showcases the sweet flavor of the meat. And of course, the decadent lobstah is enveloped in a buttery, toasted, New England-style bun. Lightly crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside.

Ermahgerd…..

Lobster Rolls

In the spirit of Luke’s, I was inspired to throw down a few Lobstah Rolls myself. I kept things simple but you can add in minced celery, avocados, lettuce, or heck–even MORE lobster! I jammed my rolls with so much lobstah meat that you could barely pick it up. Trust me, it’s a good problem to have.

I also cooked my own lobstahs but if it makes you a bit squeamish, feel free to pick up some pre-cooked meat from a trusted fish monger. Either way, you’re going to want to make these beauties because……

Wait–do you really need a reason? HECK NO—They’re Lobstah Rolls! Drools.

And with that Friends, Happy Friday!!!

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Lobster Rolls
Makes 2 rolls

Ingredients:

½ pound lobster meat, mix of both tail and claw
1½ tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon celery salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped chives (more for garnish)
2 -3 pinches cayenne pepper
2 top-split hot dog buns
2 tablespoons melted butter
lemon wedges

Chop the lobster meat into ½ inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Gently mix in the mayonnaise, celery salt, black pepper, chives and cayenne. Set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet or pan and brush the exterior of the buns with the melted butter. Toast the buns on both sides. Fill the buns with the lobster mixture and sprinkle additional chives on top (optional). Serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side.