Tomatoes, Paella, Cheesecake

We had a great weekend! We sent our oldest off to summer camp, which he loves, and we brought our youngest home for a week of being the only child, which he also loves. Every year, I buy a package of “camp labels,” and every year, I think, “Wow, that’s a lot of labels. I’ll never use them all.” Every year, I use them all. Pro tip for parents of new campers: zip loc bags and sharpies are your friends. In between the labelling and packing and postcard-writing, I cooked. I made some rice krispie treats and brownies for the staff at camp – anyone who looks after my kiddo for a week gets at least that! And I also cooked some for us.

For lunch on Saturday, we had the arugula, prosciutto and burrata salad from Cooking with Jeffrey. Ina says that the fresh figs are optional, but they were my favorite part. Figs are at our farmers’ market right now, and these were delicious.

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For dinner on Saturday, we cooked for a vegetarian friend. I actually really like entertaining guests with dietary restrictions – maybe for the challenge, but also maybe because it narrows down the possibilities so I don’t have such a hard time deciding what to make. I made the tomato carpaccio, roasted vegetable paella, and limoncello cheesecake, all from Cooking with Jeffrey. For the tomato salad, I omitted the anchovies from the dressing to make it vegetarian-friendly. It was delicious. I used vegetable stock for the paella instead of chicken stock, and it was also amazing. If I made it again, though, I might use zucchini in place of some of the bell peppers, as it is very bell pepper-friendly. Part of the liquid that is cooked with the rice is pureed roasted bell peppers. Ina calls for smoked paprika instead of regular paprika, but I’m not a big fan of smoked anything, so I just used the regular paprika. If anything, I thought this needed just a little more salt, but that’s probably because I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. I’d still definitely make it again. The cheesecake was interesting – I never expected Ina to publish a recipe with a graham cracker crust in a 9×13 pan, much less one that includes a liqueur that looks like something that 16-year-olds in my hometown take into the woods to get drunk. But the end result was really tasty, and we served it with fresh raspberries.

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