Last Saturday was my son’s Birthday party, so I thought I would try out a new recipe, actually a few new recipes, for the big day. Well, y’all, can you say epic.fail.? This was the only time I have ever made anything completely inedible. It was bad. So bad that I am still downing water bottles to try and recover from the dryness that was the “rice-krispy-cheese-cracker!” I am sure that this recipe makes delightfully tasty little treats, but this was not the case with me as chef. I had planned on making these as sort of a riff on the Southern cheese sticks that you see at parties in the South and then topping them with Tomato jelly with a tad of spicy Datil Pepper—a nod at my Minorcan roots. It all sounded perfect in my head, but the sad reality was, I made some Sahara desert crackers and had 5lbs of tomatoes left over with nothing to top. That’s when I decided to make something that I hadn’t made in a very long time, panzanella. The last time I made this dish was the Summer of 2010. I remember it very well, Mama and Grammy Shirley came over to see Little Miss when she was a little over one. I was so excited to make lunch for them, so I made panzanella, “Bread Salad,” and a yummy shrimp dish. This was the first time I had made those dishes for Grammy and she loved them! I mean, she really loved them, she raved for days. But then something happened, something came and slowly took her appetite. She got sick that summer and never got better. She lived for a little more than two years, but she always reminded me that that meal, the panzanella and the shrimp meal, was the last real, full meal she ever had. As I am typing this, I am crying, y’all, of course. Needless to say, because I am an emotional lady, I have not made panzanella since that sunny, summer day in 2010. That is until last weekend. I stood in the kitchen with a pan full of strange, inedible, little, cheese biscuits and 5lbs of tomatoes, boiling on the stove, ready to be peeled, wondering what I would do and then it hit me: panzanella. And just like that my Grammy was coming to the party. So, Friday night I cooked and peeled those tomatoes, cut them into pieces and marinated them in the oil and vinegar mix from the Giada DeLaurentis recipe I use and decided to purchase the other items in the morning and finish the dish. Saturday morning I made my list for the store—kalamata olives, capers, fresh mozz, roasted, marinated red bell peppers, and of course, some yummy fresh baked bread, and I set off. Now, the ingredients for this dish are many and can be expensive, but you should have seen my face when every single item was on sale or buy-one-get-one-free! This was just too much! I know God is busy with big, important, stuff, but I also know a small, everyday miracle when I see it. I had been missing both of my Grammies and then there I was making a dish I hadn’t made in years that my Grammy Shirley loved! These are not coincidences my friends, these are Holy nods, smiles down on us. Who would have thought that a bunch of burnt cheese biscuits would turn into a sweet memory and a delicious, unexpected dish!
That sweet day in 2010. Precious memories.
Three generations of love.
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