Tags: Asiago cheese, baking, broccoli rabe, Dough, garlic, mozzarella cheese, Prosciutto, provolobe cheese, rapini, Roasted red Peppers, stromboli, Yeast
One of my favorite sandwiches in the world is prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and roasted red peppers or in Jersey Italian – prah-joot, mootz-ar-ell and peppuhs. When I was perusing through my assigned blog, Paulchen’s Blog?!, for this month’s Secret Recipe Club..I struckstromboli, and the first thing I thought of was how perfect one of my favorite sandwiches in the world would be wrapped up and baked as a stromboli. I kept wavering back and forth between the stromboli and these butterscotch brownies...because next to being a peanut butter freak..I’m a pretty heavy butterscotch user too.
In the end, I couldn’t stop thinking how melty and gooey would work well for this sandwich combination in a stromboli – so that was it..decision made. BUT, as I thought it over, I wanted more cheese…another cheese, like provolone…and definitely something green and garlicky to cut into all that rich, gooey cheese. Oh, and why not top it with yet another cheese ? Asiago, perhaps? OK, now we’ve got three cheeses, roasted red peppers and prosciutto. What about the green stuff?
Yes, I’m taking you through my actual thought process at the time.
I pondered it for a bit and then it came to me..broccoli rabe aka rapini! The slightly bitter and earthy undertones would be ideal and cut the richness of the cheese..especially sauteed in a little garlic and oil. I added some hot chili flakes to give it a kick..but that’s optional, since some don’t like food that makes their nose sweat.
Now..I don’t want you to confuse broccoli rabe with broccoli, because they are nothing alike. Broccoli is related to the cabbage family. Broccoli rabe is related to the turnip family, and it’s a leafy green with buds that resemble tiny heads of broccoli..hence the name broccoli rabe.
If you get a chance, pop on over to Paulchen’s Blog?! and check out all of her delicious goodies! To see what my fellow Group A SRC members chose from their assigned blogs, click on the blue frog below to see the gallery of links.
I’m also submitting this stromboli to this month’s #TwelveLoaves theme – cheese, hosted by Lora of Cake Duchess, Jamie of Life’s a Feast and Barbara of Creative Culinary and Yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast. I’m also going to submit this to Shelley’s BBD #53 -Swirly breads.
One more thing. I couldn’t get a melty, drippy, gooey cheesy photo because it was way too hot to handle (the encapsulated heat burned my fingers when I tried) and I was by myself when I made and photographed it. BUT, you should have seen all the cheesy goo dripping with each slice when I first cut it open gently, on the cutting board (It was so hot, it hurt!). It was almost seductive!
Three Cheese Prosciutto, Roasted Red Pepper, Broccoli Rabe Stromboli
Dough from Ultimate Bread by Eric Treuille & Ursula Ferrigno via Paulchen’s Blog
1 packet active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 bunch of broccoli rabe washed and woody stems removed (If you don’t like broccoli rabe, use broccoli instead, blanching it first))
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
hot chili flakes (optional)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 or 3 large red bell peppers, roasted seeded, peeled - each one sliced flat, into 3 or 4 pieces, blotted dry
12 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
8 oz thinly sliced provolone cheese
Asiago or any Italian hard grating cheese
* If you don’t like broccoli rabe, use broccolini
1. Make the dough. Sprinkle yeast into 1 cup of tepid water in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center and pour in dissolved yeast and the oil. Mix in flour from sides of well. Stir in reserved water, as needed, to form a soft, sticky dough.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, silky, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a clean, oiled bowl and cover with clean kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. While dough is resting..roast your peppers and prepare the broccoli rabe. Cut the cleaned and trimmed bunch of broccoli rabe in half, then boil in two inches of salted water for about 3 to 4 minutes. Strain and drop into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Strain again and blot dry. Heat the tablespoon of olive in a saute pan. Add the minced garlic and saute until soft but not browned. Add broccoli rabe a little at a time until wilted. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, salt and pepper to taste and add your desired amount of hot chili flakes, if using. Remove the rabe from the pan to a plate to cool.
5. Punch down the risen dough and place it on a floured board. Cover and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, to relax the gluten.
6. Roll the rested dough into a 14″ x 8″ rectangle. Cover with clean towel and let rest another 10 minutes.
7. Spread the mozzarella cheese, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, provolone cheese, and broccoli rabe evenly over dough, layer by layer in the order listed.
8. Roll up the dough, starting at one of the shorter sides, but without rolling too tightly. Seal well.
9. Place on oiled baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Use a skewer or knife to pierce several holes through the dough all the way down to the baking sheet. Brush loaf with olive oil, them top with peels of asiago cheese (or any hard Italian grating cheese you prefer).
10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about an hour until golden brown. Let rest a few minutes before slicing.
Now to Part 16 of Bad Boy First Love. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, Part 13A is HERE, Part 13B is HERE, Part 14A is HERE, Part 14B is HERE and Part 15 is HERE.
Nothing says I spent the night with my boyfriend more than walking through the door at 7:30 am, disheveled, when your parent’s know your flight landed on time the night before. Even though I was now considered an adult – the way they looked at me as they sat at the breakfast table with their coffee and the paper, still made me cringe like a 10-year old getting caught with one hand in the cookie jar before dinner.
I managed to spit out some BS before darting up to my room.
“We stopped at Dreamboat’s house so I could say hi to his family. I fell asleep on the couch”
I heard their disbelieving “Uh Huh’s” as I made my way up the stairs. Welcome home!
We were inseparable for the 4 days I had before I had to leave again, but it would only be one month until winter break, so I decided to break off the undefined ‘thing’ I had with hockey guy when I got back to school. I’d have a little over two weeks with Dreamboat in 4 weeks..and my love for him was stronger than ever..I didn’t want anyone else – ever again.
Easier said than done. As I looked into hockey guy’s sweet face and warm brown eyes the night I got back, after he welcomed me with a bear hug and kiss..I felt kind of sad. I liked him, but I didn’t want to lead him on..I was sure I going to marry Dreamboat. I told him that. He looked a tad pissed, but also slightly amused.
“You’ve only been here three months, Lisa…and you’re a kid. Making a life decision like that now, with years of college to go, is a little premature, don’t ya think?”
It was then I realized I was slowly splitting into two people. When home with Dreamboat, I was a starry-eyed teenager. At college, I had already cracked the teenage eggshell and was chipping away at adulthood – one eye and a foot peeking through the jagged edges. With hockey guy there were no intense butterflies, no walking on air, but there was a more mature kind of excitement – the kind of excitement where you get lost in a conversation and then turn a little gooey.
BUT..I stood my ground. Within two weeks..I sort of regretted it. I was back to ‘college Lisa’, where I had the uncanny ability to put Dreamboat on hold because he did not exist in my college world. I couldn’t even imagine him visiting because he didn’t fit into this other part of my life. I likened it to a lone palm tree thriving on Commonwealth Avenue in January.
I couldn’t completely understand these feelings, but somehow they made sense somewhere in my naïve and somewhat cockeyed view of life at the time.
The pull between me and hockey guy wasn’t going away anytime soon, and there were a few moments and stolen kisses when we ran into each other at various places, but I tried hard to keep those to a minimum.
I spent the rest of my freshman year studying, partying, hanging with my new friends, and packing on another 7 lbs – finally surrendering to buying some new clothes that would fit since I busted most of my zippers.
“Survival of the Fittest” What do you call the jeans in your closet without broken zippers, Alex?
It was the first time in my life clothes shopping was not fun.
When I arrived home for summer vacation, I was determined to whittle off the weight and spend as much time with Dreamboat as possible. He was no longer going to work on the pier because the job in North Jersey paid well, plus, at 21, he felt he had outgrown it. Naturally, I was happy about that.
I got a part-time job at a makeup boutique on the second floor of an upscale mall and I was floored when I was hired. A young woman, not much older than me.. who just worked there but was apparently given the authority to hire someone, asked if I knew how to do makeup and if I had ‘done’ makeup before. Sure!! On myself and my friends! But, a simple answer of ‘Yes’ nabbed me the job.
I was alone all the time..closing the boutique since I worked from 4 to 8 pm. Best job ever…especially since I had the whole day before work to spend at my friend’s pool. Barely anyone ever came up to the second floor because it was even more pricey than the first floor..so I talked on the phone to friends, lived on diet fudge soda, and avoided the escalator at all costs.. taking the stairs constantly in my quest to lose weight. My own little mall gym.
The whole time I worked there, only two people asked for makeovers. Since I had no experience doing it professionally, I ended up doing their makeup like I did my own. Thank god it was only two women because anyone who came in was going to look like me if they wanted a makeover. One asked for eyeshadow, which I didn’t wear. Umm..ok.
I grabbed some pink, blue, brown and green eyeshadow – glop, glop, glop on each lid, then blended all together with a brush, emulating what I saw makeup artists do. There – eyeshadow. She really liked it. I think she looked like a clown.
Those were the exciting nights.
After closing up..I’d push open the wide glass doors to the upper deck parking lot and there he was most nights..waiting in his car. We did a lot of fun things that summer, including a Springsteen concert..well sort of.
By that time, I’d dropped some of the weight, so I went shopping on a break and chose a pretty, pale pink, cotton sleeveless dress. Not the norm for a rock concert, but I was feeling great and was in the mood to dress up a little. Dreamboat told me I looked amazing …I blushed. The blush again. He could still make me blush and remained the only person who could do so.
Well, well, well.. much to my dismay, it turned out that Dreamboat and his friends didn’t have tickets to the concert. They planned to buy from scalpers. Springsteen playing in NJ? To many NJ natives..it’s almost a religious experience. Your chances of buying a ticket, even in a seat way up in the heavens, for less than the price of a small island…were about as great as wrestling an alligator and winning with nary a scratch.
So..we hung out in the parking lot, listening to the music blasting from the arena.
Another night in a damn parking lot.
The girl I was a year before would have been fine with that…simply because I was with him. The girl blossoming into adulthood, not so much.
I saw a door on the side of the arena open. I started walking toward it with a strange boost of confidence..not knowing where it led to, but knowing I had to walk through it. Dreamboat tried to stop me, but I ignored him. He started following me, asking over and over where I was going…but I kept walking without a response, only reaching back to grab his hand and pull him along with me.
To this day I can’t explain the feeling, but it was like I was being led by something not of this earth.
I walked right through the door, past security, past a lot of VIP suits. Nobody inside that door said a word as I kept walking, the music now deafening. Dreamboat was uttering all kinds of shit..like “You’re crazy, baby!”, but his eyes proved otherwise when we walked through a large, dark entrance with neon lights and screaming people..right into one of the aisles of the floor seats. Soon we were in the 4th row..standing in front of exactly two empty seats and Bruce.
Dreamboat couldn’t stop hugging and kissing me, beaming, yelling in my ear that he could not believe I did that..and was shocked that no one stopped us. At that moment, the roles were reversed – he was the starry-eyed kid and I was the confident adult. We got to enjoy the last hour of the show, eradicating the disappointment I felt when we first arrived and he told me neither he nor his friends had tickets.
I could have tried walking through that door 20 more times after that and I probably would have been stopped, but there was something magical and symbolic about that particular night The door was more than a pathway to Bruce Springsteen, it was a pathway to independence…leading for once, not following..and doing something I normally wouldn’t even think of doing.
When we got back to the parking lot, his friends were frantic, but not frantic enough to drop the amusing barbs..
“Where did youse two go? We thought Bruce kidnapped you”
I loved listening to Dreamboat tell them what I did, his eye sparkling..he was proud of me. I couldn’t help thinking – wow, he’s proud of me, but what I did was sorta criminal, wasn’t it? I stole an hour of Bruce Springsteen. Then again, the security guards didn’t do their job, right?
That was the excuse I used to dilute any feelings of wrong doing…not that I really cared.
Although I was still completely enamored with Dreamboat, I started to notice something that bugged me just a bit. I wanted conversation, conversation outside of lovey-dovey talk and trivial stuff, like..
“Sal bought me lunch today..nice guy. I had a hero with the works, it was awesome”
So, I’d start stretching out the conversation just to have a conversation.
“Was there capocollo on it? What kind of cheese? Oil and vinegar or garlic aioli?” TELL ME ABOUT EVERY COLD CUT ON THAT SANDWICH. OK, I never requested the latter, but it’s what I was thinking.
After too many moments where I would start chattering excitedly about something I saw on the news, a book I was reading, or something relating to a class I took in college, being cut short with a response from him along the lines of..
“Really? Wow, that’s great, baby”
“Sounds pretty cool”
“Oh, that’s too bad”
..I realized as much as I loved him, he just wasn’t a deep conversationalist. He wasn’t dumb by any stretch and in fact was extremely street smart, much more than many people I knew and know to this day, but the stuff I wanted to talk about just didn’t interest him.
Our relationship had always been a deep red, flawless, shiny apple to me, but now there was slight nick in it…almost invisible to the naked eye, but it was there if you looked closely. When he’d brush my hair back, caress my cheek and start kissing me – that nick would disappear…for the time being.
No relationship is perfect…and without nicks, they’d seem almost artificial, so I let it go and just accepted the fact that I’d never be discussing the congressional hearings on White Water or composers/books I loved, with him…..like I could with most of my friends at school and….hockey guy.
Hockey guy. Hmmm. I wondered how his summer was going?
My luxurious job ended unceremoniously one Monday in early August, and this is where I digress a little.
I came to work and the place was already gutted. Since there were just three of us who worked separate shifts by ourselves, and barely knew each other…the word hadn’t been passed on. The owner’s daughter – dressed to the nine’s, too much makeup, her light brown hair perfectly coiffed, and her husband..a kind of nondescript looking guy, were there packing up the merchandise. She had a major amount of chutzpah and a major amount of attitude.
“Oh, you must be one of three who works for us. Do me a favor and go down to the Chinese place in the food court and get us two orders of chicken lo mein..NO MSG.. and two large cokes”
Umm..no intro? No please? Did she even know my name? Well..I guess I was still her employee so I did what she asked, hating myself for kowtowing to her obnoxious demand.
They sat at what was once was the makeup counter..now just a U-shaped block of glass and steel, and ate while she continued to bark demands at me.
“Go in back and bring out the boxes I left by the bathroom”
“Oh, sweep the floor while you’re back there”
Yes, your highness…rude bitch, rather
Her husband didn’t say a word. He seemed a little afraid of her. I figured he was castrated on their wedding day.
When I finished, I came back up front. She waved me over “Hey, I have your commission” HEY?? I couldn’t ignore that one.
“MY name is LISA”
“OK, Lisa..whatever..here’s your commission”
She stuck the tip of a perfectly mauve lacquered nail on the edge of a five dollar bill, as if it was something repulsive, not worthy of touching her skin, and slid it toward me. It was wet. The bitch had spilled her soda on it.
Five bucks commission? Well, if they didn’t overcharge for their crap makeup, maybe some would have actually bought some of it, I thought as I took the bill and turned to leave. She didn’t deserve a thank you. She called me back with a condescending edge to her voice, as if to say “Hey, we’re not finished with you yet..we’re going to milk every drop of you as our employee, dry!”
“Help us carry some of this stuff out to the U-Haul we rented” she said, as she smoothed her overly sprayed hair with one hand to make sure there was not a strand out-of-place. I grabbed two bags and a box, walked to the U-Haul and threw them in. I was fuming. I heard her screechy voice as I walked to my car..
“If you want to use me as a reference for another job, call me”
I didn’t have her number, she didn’t offer it, and I didn’t care.
That night Dreamboat was treated to a huge serving of rage and potty mouth as I told him the story, still angry and completely disgusted with myself for not telling her where to shove her wet 5 dollar bill. He stroked my hair as I rambled on..his head against the seat, facing me..taking in all of my ire with a cute smile. He always enjoyed my feisty side. Suddenly his smile faded a bit and his eyes softened. I asked him what was wrong.
“My girl is all grown up” he said softly.
I didn’t get it. I looked at him quizzically.
“I dunno..you talk different, you say what’s on your mind a lot..I guess college changed you a little”
“Is that a bad thing?” I asked timidly
“Not at all, sweetheart..everyone has to grow up sometime”
He pulled me to him and started kissing me to signal the end of that conversation. As usual, I was putty in his arms and my horrid day evaporated into thin air.
Now that I was no longer part of the work force and he had a week vacation coming up.., he asked if I wanted to go down the shore. Of course I did, especially now that I’d lost the freshman 15 and then some. I was feeling pretty good..and he knew it, since I allowed him to touch my stomach again.
We had his parent’s shore house to ourselves because his younger brother was staying with his girlfriend house a few blocks away since her parents were away for a few weeks, and Pete also had a job back home and could only come down on weekends. His parents were visiting relatives in Maryland. No..it wasn’t perfect timing…he chose this particular week to take off because he knew the house would be empty.
Staying alone together at the house was thrilling at first..but within a few days it sort of felt like we were a little old married couple. We did a lot of ‘couple’ things with his friend Andy and his girlfriend who was now his fiancé.
“I could get used to this” he said one evening as we snuggled in front of the TV after they left.
It was weird being able to spend all day and night with him down the shore. I’d never spent prime time hours walking the boardwalk with him..or lazing on the beach for hours during the day with him. I found myself watching groups of girls a few years or less younger than me doing what I used to do with my friends – chattering away on a big beach blanket, or hurrying down the boardwalk at night..again chattering away..heading somewhere and extremely excited to get there.
I missed my friends being there with me. I wanted it to be like it used to be – as recently as one year before. I wanted the excitement of going to meet him or him coming to get me after work. I wanted to feel young again. I look back and laugh now – I was just about 19, but that week..I felt old.
We went to our special beach one night.. instinctively reaching for each other’s hand as we walked toward and along the shoreline in the moonlight. We talked about the night we reconnected and my almost face plant that ripped up my knee. He pulled me into the water..knee deep, recreating that first passionate kiss after being apart a year. My whole body melted as it did on that very special night… but this time tears started running down my face mid kiss. I was going back to school in two weeks, and I was going to miss him terribly..but there was a very unfamiliar feeling pulsing against the heartbreak.
I was kind of excited to get back to school.
“It’s going to harder letting you go this time, baby” he whispered in between kisses, wiping my tears
“I know” I whispered back..and left it at that.
How could I love someone so deeply but want to leave them? Even though this new feeling was small change compared to the sad range of emotions of leaving him again..it bothered me.
His brother, Pete, came down the following Friday. Saturday morning a car pulled up in front of Dreamboat’s shore house…beeping. I ran to the couch to peer out the window.
“Geeez,,you’re like the freakin’ dogs..running to the window when someone’s outside” I heard Dreamboat say as I kept my eye on the car..the car with a girl behind the wheel. There was a sudden silence behind me, so I looked back at them.
Dreamboat remained calm, but was looking at Pete firmly. Pete didn’t say a word – they had brain waves going on. Pete jumped up and ran outside..almost in a panic. I watched him lean down to the window and say something to the girl, then watch her drive away..making sure she was gone before making his way back into the house.
“Who was that?” I asked Dreamboat while still watching Pete walk toward the house.
“Just a friend of Pete’s” he answered nonchalantly
“Oh..ok” I answered, not believing him completely. I saw ‘the look’ he gave Pete..I knew him too well. The truth is..I didn’t want to know, just like he wouldn’t want to know about hockey guy.
Ignorance was bliss in this case..and ‘knowing’ would make me sick to my stomach.
One night back in North Jersey, two days before I was leaving for school, we sat in his car silently…looking at the Manhattan skyline..and each other. I saw his eyes glistening a little in the darkness. I reached over and rubbed my fingers around the side of one…I felt wetness, definitely tears. I hugged him, trying to kiss away those tears..but he pulled back a little.
“There’s something I need to tell you..I wasn’t honest with you about something” he said..his voice quivering..the first time I’d ever heard him sound like that..and the first time he didn’t try to hide the fact that he was crying.
NO NO NO, I thought..I don’t want to know!! I knew what he was going to say and I desperately wanted to plug my ears with cement.
“Don’t” I said, shooting daggers at him with my eyes..although my voice belied that anger via choking.
It was like he didn’t hear me..”That girl..the one that came by the shore house that day…”
NO! I tried to say it..but it wasn’t coming out. I guess I was going to have to hear it..it was too late.
“…when we worked on Tom’s house (his boss’s house down the shore) in early November..I took her out a few times..I knew her from the neighborhood, she lives there year round”
I heard myself shouting..but everything was spilling out uncontrollably….”WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME?? I DON’T WANT TO KNOW..WE PROMISED EACH OTHER WE WOULDN’T TELL!!!”
He wrapped his arms around me…tears were running down his face now – his cheek was against mine..so he was soaking my face too. Hmmm..a change of pace for once.
“Baby..I hated lying to you when you asked. If you hadn’t asked, I never would have said anything!”
Now I was crying. I hated that he had given me this cross to bear. I had to think of him with another woman..and now..I had to know more.
“Did you sleep with her? Did you see her more before I came home for the summer? Are you going to see her again? DO YOU LOVE HER?”
Part 17 – the final part..coming soon.
Potato Rosti with Bacon, Brie, Scallions and a Quick and Easy Brown Butter Applesauce – Plus, Bad Boy First Love, Part Four.February 15, 2012 at 2:44 am | Posted in Breakfast, Daring Cooks, Dinner, Gluten Free, Pork, Vegetables | 44 Comments
Tags: Bacon, Bacon Lardons, Brie, Brown butter Apple Sauce, cooking, Potato Rosti, recipes, Roasted red Peppers, Rosti, Scallions
Happy Valentines Day, err, Eve, everyone! I had this post scheduled to go up at 5pm last night. Apparently I didn’t use GMT, so it’s now the 15th. Well, it’s still Valentine’s Day on the West Coast! I hope you all had an amazing day and are now getting your lips kissed off – or eating chocolate.
Since I have Part Four of my Bad Boy First Love written and it’s like a mile long, I’m going to try and keep my Daring Cooks section as short and sweet as I can. We were asked to make fried patties of some sort, and one of the recipes offered to us was potato rosti, which is sort of a mix between a giant potato latke and hash browns. I added bacon lardons, scallions and brie to mine. It was suggested that the use of a cast iron skillet was ideal, and I have three; an 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch, all well-seasoned, or so I thought.
Once the underside of my rosti was cooked, some careful inspection revealed there was no way I was flipping this baby over without it falling apart. SO, I stuck it under the broiler to finish it and brown the top. We cut slices out of the pan, and it came out well, but it still would have broken into pieces had I tried to flip it.
I topped some slices with a sunny side up egg with roasted red bell pepper hearts (cutting the egg into a heart shape proved a little difficult since the white was so delicate and thin in some areas, but I did my best, and I think it still resembles somewhat of a heart (??). For the rest of the rosti, I made a super quick brown butter-cinnamon chunky applesauce, which was wonderful with it – recipe following.
The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax (my pal) & Lis (one of my wifeypoos) and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!
Next time I make a potato rosti I will either use a non-stick pan, or make damn sure my cast iron skillet is VERY well seasoned, and I will definitely use an 8-inch pan since I halved the recipe, and 10-inches gave me a rather thin rosti. I prefer them a little thicker.
After drowning out my Mother’s yelling, I fell asleep, getting nudged awake by my friend only hours later so we could go to the beach. We always started lying out by 10 am at the latest and went all the way until 4-5 pm. A savage tan was always the goal. Crazy to even imagine it now – I don’t even entertain the idea of the beach without 1 billion UVB sunblock! Being super young and feeling immortal is fun while it lasts. I’m a staunch supporter of the occasional spray tan, nowadays.
On our way out the door, my mother warned me she was going to go to a pay phone and call my father (the cottage had no phone, but when you’re at the beach you really don’t care).
I blew off her threatening words as we pushed the door open and got the hell out of there.
After a breakfast of Orange Julius, we made our way to the most populated area of the beach…the one between the two piers. We always rented places at the end of the boardwalk near Ortley Beach and usually used the less crowded beach there, but it really depended on our moods. On that particular day, we wanted quick access to some clothes and stuff we were eyeing at Sand Tropez, a cool sort of ‘everything’ store on the boardwalk.
I was still walking on air as we trudged down the beach to grab a spot by the ocean. I knew my friend wanted to talk about everything, but I just couldn’t give it all up..it was so special, so personal (little did I know, many years later, I would be giving every detail to a lot of people I don’t know, on a food blog).
“Yes, we kissed, but I spilled lemonade all over his lap in the middle of it”
We cracked up.
She liked hunky monkey, but it seemed he couldn’t keep his ‘paws’ off of her once they had some time alone. He didn’t force it, but it left her kind of ‘feh’ on him. However, she still wanted to see him again, so it apparently hadn’t hit the ‘NO WAY’ point just yet.
As we played in the ocean, baked in the sun, joked with guys who came armed with bad pick-up lines, and made up ‘pretend’ stories about people lounging around us..I couldn’t help looking over at the pier every so often, butterflies zipping through my digestive system, knowing he’d be there at 4pm, and then..at midnight, we’d meet again. I kept replaying the night/early morning over and over in my head. I could still feel him, smell him..especially in the crook of my left arm, which I’d bury my face in when lying on my stomach.
On our way back to the cottage, well-baked, happy, albeit exhausted, we passed the Casino Pier. She grabbed my arm and pulled..
“Come on, go say hi to him now!” she said, laughing hysterically. She knew there was no way I’d show my NOT showered, ocean-haired, greasy, suntan oiled skin, ‘self’ to him. We pulled back and forth – screaming and laughing even harder.
I bet you can guess what happened. I turned around and there he was, walking toward us – he’d taken a quick break to buy some sodas.
OH NO. OH NO. OH NO. Now it was over for sure! I quickly pulled my sticky, tangled hair out of the pony tail holder and fluffed as best I could.
I started plotting my friend’s demise
“Just get off the beach, silly girls?” he asked as he approached us. That smile again…JELL-O legs.
He took my hand and pulled me to him for a kiss, then wrapped his arms around me. I was so gross! How could he even look at me, much less touch me!?!
“Mmmm…your skin is so warm – you smell like a pina colada”
I started explaining why I looked so hideous. He laughed and told me I was adorable and beautiful. I hadn’t realized he had such bad eyesight.
He lightly rolled a cold soda can down my back..which felt good in the heat. He asked if all went well when I went inside after he dropped me off. I told him the truth, leaving out the ‘curfew’ and ‘snuck out’ part, making it as if she was just pissed because she couldn’t sleep when it got really late and I wasn’t home. He looked concerned..
“Would it be better if we picked you up tonight so you don’t have to walk all the way down the boardwalk that late? I’ll turn off the engine and coast to the house next door, so we don’t wake her up”
He was too awesome for words. I wondered how many lives I saved in my previous life.
I looked at my friend, who gave the ‘YES’, look.
“That would be great, you’re so thoughtful..thank you so much”
“You’re so polite, it’s cute” he said..then a long kiss. DAMN..can spontaneous combustion occur from intense passion for someone?
“I’ll be there about quarter after 12, ok?”
“Yes, perfect!” *I love you..I know I love you, I can’t explain what else this feeling is, but you saw me looking like this, and still want me – I am definitely in love with you*
“Stop by tonight and visit me if you’re around the pier” *Oh, I want to, but I don’t want you to get sick of me so soon – I probably will stop by, regardless, I can’t resist this man*
As we turned and started home, I got a whole bunch of “Are you going to thank me, huh? huh?” from my friend.
Little did she know how close to death she had been if he had walked away in horror at the sight of me.
When we got back to the cottage, we showered then napped for about two hours. During a quick dinner of chicken salad sandwiches, we devised a plan to sneak out without getting caught now that Mommy Dearest was on to us. We’d stay in tonight..just hang outside with our new local girl friends. No ‘getting ready’ while my Mother was awake, just a casual night in the neighborhood. Then we’d ‘get ready’ and stuff clothes and whatever we could find that resembled heads, under our blankets. An oldie, but goodie.
All was perfect come midnight..my mother bought our ‘casual night’ at home and conked out around 10:30 pm. We rushed to get ready..brushing our teeth, flipping and fluffing our hair in unison in front of the mirror, applying lip gloss, covering up the sunburn on our noses from that day. Earrings in, then a walk through a spritz of our favorite scents. We were out the door by 10 after midnight. Within minutes they were coasting up, headlights off.
When I settled into the front seat, he said he had a surprise for me, He motioned toward a cup holder attached to the door next to me. I laughed, but almost cried at his gesture. I wanted to kiss his face all over – but saved that for when we were alone. No need to disgust the backseat occupants chatting away about movies.
We dropped my friend and hunky monkey off at his place, then he asked if I minded if we stopped at a friend’s place because he had to pick up some CD’s. Like I said in previous parts of this story, as long as I was with him, I could watch paint dry. Onward to your friend’s place, Prince Charming – but really…
“Sure, that’s fine” trying to keep my voice from squeaking because I was so overjoyed being in his intoxicating presence.
Then came the face kissing to thank him for the cup holder. He said he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. *Is it ok for the woman to propose?*
When we got there, his friend was hanging with his girlfriend watching a movie. Introductions all around. Dreamboat came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, kissing my cheek as he and his friend talked. I loved his affection, it was like being showered in warm, melted chocolate. We stayed for about a half hour, Dreamboat always near..holding my hand, keeping his arm around me, while I chatted with his friend’s girlfriend. She told me how many woman were after my bad boy. I told her I’d seen it with my own eyes. She laughed and said..
“He’s like a rock star on the pier, does it bother you?”
*A little* “Noo, not at all, I mean, he doesn’t even seem to notice it, he’s so down to earth and cool about it”
“He’s a really great guy, and he’s really into you - I’ve never seen him like this with anyone”
Apparently I wasn’t the first girl who got a stint at Andy’s. Didn’t bother me one bit, though..there was no way this guy was dateless and celibate before me.
When we finally left..he told me he’d take me anywhere I wanted to go. I wanted to go back to ‘our place’, the scene of the lemonade disaster. He held my hand as he drove, in between switching gears. The connection between us was crazy intense..just holding his hand sent all kinds of sexy reverberations from my toes to my head.
He kissed my lips off again for the next 2 1/2 to 3 hours, in between a walk along the bay, lots of playfulness and just pure exhileration and connecting. He almost told me he loved me..but stopped short. I almost told him I loved him – but stopped short. You just couldn’t say that on a second date..it was impossible – we were feeling the ‘newness’, right? But I melted nonetheless. I KNEW I loved him by then. I don’t care how crazy it sounds, it was there and it wasn’t going away anytime soon. Thank god I had 8 days left with him.
The next night was much of the same, except we played on the boardwalk a while, then went to a secluded beach in Seaside Park – laying down a blanket and just staring into each other’s eyes in the moonlight, in between major make-out sessions, again. This little romance was turning into an amalgamation of every early Bruce Springsteen song where he falls in love beneath the stars over the boardwalk and carnival lights, with his ‘Sandy’ or “Jersey Girl’, on the beach, in the car, under the boardwalk..wherever, whatever. No it was even worse..
Summer Lovin’, had me a blast
Summer Lovin’ happened so fast
I wiped every trace of that one from my brain and continued to drown in his eyes and lips.
We had to pick up my friend and hunky monkey that night, so we said our real goodbye before we went to get them. He told me he had the coming Sunday off, all day and night and he’d love to finally be able to take me out at a reasonable hour. *Any hour with you is more than reasonable – I’d go out with you every night from midnight on, even if you didn’t work that late*
He wanted to take me so many places, I loved it.
“We could drive down to LBI (Long Beach Island). ..there’s a lot of beautiful beaches there, then go out for an early dinner, maybe see a movie…”
I felt like standing up and jumping up and down like a little kid – like the time my father told us we were going to Six Flags Great Adventure the very next day, out of the blue.
I could spend a whole day and evening with him worry free, no sneaking out.
We made our usual plans for the next night – took forever to say goodbye, then drove to pick up the music/movie connoisseurs.
Potato Rosti Napoleon? I just sandwiched three slices of rosti with some extra brie and put it in the oven for a few minutes. A glorious tasting mess!
We had them drop us off at the corner, not wanting to chance my mother being up and looking out the window. As we walked up the street, I saw my father in the driveway packing up the car. It was 3:30 am! WTF?? It was also a Thursday night, why was he here?? He wasn’t here at midnight when we snuck out!
I ran with all my might right up to him.
“What are you doing here? It’s not the weekend, and why are you packing up the car? That’s one of my suitcases!!”
He ignored me and politely asked my friend to go pack up her stuff. We were leaving because we kept sneaking out and my mother had called him yet again in distress. He got in the car at almost 1 am and made the drive to destroy my life forever.
“BUT WE HAVE 8 DAYS LEFT!! YOU’RE GOING TO LOSE MONEY!” I screamed, trying to sort of reason with him – anything to get him to change his mind.
“I don’t care, enough is enough, you continued to sneak out even when warned, you blew it, not me, not your mother”
I begged I pleaded, I cried – all to no avail. Then I ran down the street in hopes Dreamboat and hunky monkey hadn’t gotten that far yet. Maybe they were stuck at a really long red light. I ran as fast I could..stopping and spinning around at points, looking for that navy blue Beetle. I had to tell him, we hadn’t exchanged any of the vital info yet, like last names, phone #’s etc. I could barely catch my breath..I was shaking like a leaf, tears streaming down my face. It was all very The Notebook-y.
He was going to think I just up and left him. I was going to wither up and die without him. No Sunday, no more of his kisses, I’d probably never see him again.
I sobbed as I walked back to the cottage. Of course, as an adult, I would probably do the same if my teenage daughter was sneaking out every night – with boys, but the 15-year old me felt it was the most awful thing any parent could do to their child.
The best 3 nights of my entire life, and it was over, just like that.
The car ride back home was NOT pleasant, to say the least.
Part Five coming soon!
If you have a few minutes, please check out some of the unique, creative and delicious patties my fellow Daring Cooks came up with, by clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE. For a bounty of recipes for all kinds of patties, from the challenge, click HERE.
Rest in Peace Whitney Houston. The tragic loss of a beautiful woman with the voice of angel.
Potato Rosti with Brie, Bacon and Scallions
Servings: makes two large rosti
Adapted from a family recipe from the Daring Kitchen, with my additions
2 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons feshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons cornstarch, or use all-purpose flour
1 lb slab bacon without the rind, or thick cut bacon
7 oz wheel of Brie
! bunch scallions, sliced, dark ends saved for garnish
3 tablespoons oil, for frying
1. Dice bacon into cubes and fry until fat is rendered and it’s a deep rust color. Strain off bacon grease and save for another use. Set aside on a paper towel in a bowl.
2. Cut white, papery rind off of brie (you can keep it onI prefer it off). Dice into small cubes, or shred, if brie is cold and firm.
3. Slice white and light green parts on the diagonal. Save dark green slices, also sliced on the diagonal, for garnish.
4. Grate the peeled potatoes with a box grater or a food processor shredding disk.5. Wrap the grated potato in a cloth and squeeze dry, you will get a lot of liquid over ½ cup, discard liquid since it is full of potato starch. Return dried potato to bowl add the egg, brie, bacon, scallions, cornstarch, pepper, and salt. Mix until combined.
6. Preheat a frying pan (a well seasoned cast iron is best, 8 to 10-inch) until medium hot, add 2 teaspoons of oil wait until oil shimmers.
7. Place half of mixture into the pan, flatten with a spoon until you get a smooth flat surface. Lower heat to medium.
8. Fry for 8-10 minutes (check at 6 minutes) the first side, flip by sliding the rösti onto a plate then use another plate invert the rösti then slide it back into the pan, then fry the other side about 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat to make another rosti.
Quick and Easy Brown Butter Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick – 4 tablespoons - 2 oz)
4 large Granny Smith (or any tart apples), apples – peeled, cored and chopped into cubes.
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, entirely depending on how sweet you like it
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 good pinch kosher salt
1. In a large saute pan, melt the butter on medium low heat. Raise the heat to medium and cook the butter until the liquid beneath the milk solids that rise to the top is golden brown.
2. Add chopped apples to browned butter (beurre noisette) and saute until apples start to soften. Sprinkle in sugar and let the apples caramelize in the sugar. Stir in the cinnamon and kosher salt and cook until the apples are brown and very soft.
3. Remove apples to a bowl, scraping out any brown butter, and mash with a fork for chunky, or give it a whirl in the food processor (or use a blender or stick blender) for a smooth apple sauce. When cool, place in an airtight container in the fridge – it should last about 2 weeks, or serve warm over potato rosti.