A SUMMERY, GRILLED VEGGIE DINNER
Plus: a new favorite book, a sauce for all occasions and desserts for The Big Weekend!
Summer is un-officially here, and with it some 90-degree nights that call for taking dinner (and the heat and messes that go with it)—outside. My favorite time of year.
Both Sunday night and last night, we had friends over for dinner in that low-key, impromptu hey the grill is on, why don’t you come over kind-of-way. It was a perfect reminder how easy summer entertaining can be with the right recipes, like this irresistible grill-friendly number from my friend Anna’s new book, For The Table.
It’s not every day you get to experience your own line of work, from the other side. But almost two summer’s ago, Anna Stockwell, my dear friend and former colleague, moved to a charming house down the street from us in our tiniest village imaginable.
It was early in the pandemic, and in no time Anna became a part of our family—Auntie Anna to my kids, the best cocktail date for me.
When she moved, Anna was also in the earliest stages of working on her debut book, and for the first time in over a decade of cookbook writing myself, we became the recipient of overflow meals, tested recipes, and invitations to be the extras in her shoots. Evenings when my husband is home, I can slip over for a spread of chips and salmon roe, plus olives and a Negroni. And Anna delivered fully cooked meals, potent with flavor and love, to our back door, often when I needed it most.
In the two years since she moved, we’ve shared bonfires, birthdays, meals, movies, game nights, winter walks, tears and joy. And through it all, Anna’s generous heart and a love for feeding and treating others shines (my kids know: cocktails for grown-ups, Spindrift for kids—always at the ready).
Today I’m sharing a meal Anna fed us during the making of For The Table—that turned into one my favorite images in the whole book (above)—my legs, Greta’s arms, and Máytás’ sweet little face. Every bite was divine. I can tell you we (and by we, we mean Máytás) properly christened this lovely tablecloth. Anna didn’t even blink.
This meal is easy, delicious, summer vibes. Everything you want to eat as grill season fires up, and as we can finally (finally!!) open our tables up to friends and neighbors again. It also really exemplifies Anna’s style of cooking: casual, generous, flavorful, and celebratory.
Below you’ll find the recipe for her Zs’atar Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini, which we ate by the plateful (yes, even the kids!), plus her addictive Tahini Sauce that goes with this and any meal. You could certainly pair any of this with grilled chicken or fish (or even a take-home rotisserie chicken, which just might be the ticket for an easy weekend ahead)—but you can also serve the vegetables front and center, as she does here, with bread and of course, dessert. I’ve got you covered for those below, too.
Wishing you all a beautiful long weekend ahead, and thank you for being here!
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ZA’ATAR GRILLED EGGPLANT AND ZUCCHINI
4 MEDIUM ZUCCHINIS (ABOUT 3 POUNDS), QUARTERED LENGTHWISE INTO WEDGES
2 MEDIUM OR 4 SMALL EGGPLANTS (ABOUT
1 POUND), CUT LENGTHWISE INTO 1-INCH WEDGES
½ CUP OLIVE OIL, PLUS MORE FOR GRILLING AND DRIZZLING
2 TABLESPOONS ZA’ATAR
KOSHER SALT AND FRESHLY
GROUND BLACK PEPPER
FLAKY SEA SALT, FOR SERVING
PREPARE A GRILL FOR MEDIUM HEAT. IN A LARGE BOWL, TOSS THE ZUCCHINI, EGGPLANT, AND 1/2 CUP OF THE OIL; SEASON WITH THE ZA’ATAR, 2 TEASPOONS OF SALT, AND 1 TEASPOON OF PEPPER AND TOSS TO COAT THOROUGHLY. WORKING IN BATCHES IF NEEDED, GRILL THE ZUCCHINI AND EGGPLANT WEDGES, TURNING OFTEN, UNTIL STEAMY, TENDER, AND CHARRED ALL OVER, 8 TO 12 MINUTES. RETURN TO THE LARGE BOWL.
SPREAD THE TAHINI SAUCE (RECIPE, BELOW) EVENLY ON A LARGE SERVING PLATTER, THEN PILE THE GRILLED VEGETABLES ON TOP. IF NOT USING ANY SAUCES, OR IF YOU’D LIKE TO KEEP THEM ON THE SIDE, SIMPLY PILE THE GRILLED VEGETABLES ON A LARGE SERVING PLATTER. DRIZZLE WITH OLIVE OIL AND SPRINKLE WITH FLAKY SEA SALT BEFORE SERVING.
SERVES 6 TO 8
*NOTE: RECIPE EASILY DOUBLED TO SERVE 12 TO 14
A decadent, creamy, dairy-free sauce to add a dose of richness to simple vegetables or a crunchy, raw salad.
1/2 CUP TAHINI
2 TABLESPOONS LEMON JUICE
1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
IN A SMALL BOWL, WHISK TOGETHER THE TAHINI, LEMON JUICE, SALT, AND ¼ CUP OF WATER UNTIL SMOOTH. IF THE SAUCE IS TOO THICK, WHISK IN MORE WATER UNTIL A POURABLE CONSISTENCY IS REACHED.
THE SAUCE CAN BE STORED IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER IN THE FRIDGE FOR UP TO 1 WEEK. IT WILL SOLIDIFY WHEN CHILLED, SO EITHER BRING IT TO ROOM TEMPERATURE BEFORE SERVING OR WHISK IN A SMALL SPLASH OF WARM WATER TO LOOSEN IT.
MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP
For the rest of the meal shown above, including Anna’s genius tomato salad with blue cheese and chives, and the snack-y intros, cocktails and easy desserts that make her brand of entertaining such a treat, get For The Table (a great gift for summer birthdays and long weekends ahead!), below.
FIVE DESSERTS FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND:
RASPBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE (above)