A Midsummer Night’s Bream

Over the weekend, I took a quick jaunt over to London for the Rugby World Cup. Edward got these tickets almost a year ago, but with my new job back in the States, I could only take one day off. The result was a 48-hour haze of joyful reunions, fierce England sporting patriotism, and – unfortunately – a steady battle against jet lag. Like the mortals who wander through hill and dale in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, most of the time I had no idea whether I was awake or dreaming. But there are some things in life that zing you awake – perhaps it’s the limey acidity and sharp red onion in a ceviche nacho dish; perhaps it’s an elixir from cheeky Puck in the forest; or perhaps it’s the feeling of being surrounded by 80,000 people singing “God Save the Queen” in support of England’s rugby team (who, incidentally, beat Fiji!).

 

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Ceviche Nachos:

1/2 pound white fish (sea bream, sole, tilapia, halibut)

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed

1 red pepper

1/2 red onion

Zest of three limes

2 tsp chopped parsley (or a fresh herb of your choice)

Salt and pepper

1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choosing (I used a Mexican mix)

Four heft handfuls of tortilla chips

Instruction:

1. Cut fish into quarter-inch cubes. Pour lime juice until just covering fish, then cover with cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. The fish should be opaque.

2. In the meantime, dice pepper and onion. Toss together with black beans, lime zest, parsley, salt, and pepper. When fish is finished chilling, gently drain lime juice and add fish to the pepper and onion mixture.

3. Arrange tortilla chips on a plate, sprinkle with cheese, and microwave for about 40 seconds (cheese should be melted and bubbling). Serve immediately with ceviche.

Enjoy ceviche nachos with William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!

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The Sage of Innocence

Tonight Edward and I are going to a live broadcast of La Bohéme in Trafalgar Square. For our opera picnic, he’s bringing the wine, and I’m in charge of food. It’s nights like these that make me so glad to live in London – there is the possibility of culture and romance on any given night.

However, it’s also nice to get away sometimes. We spent last weekend in Wivenhoe, a small river town near the eastern coast. We ate dinner at a cozy tapas place and both agreed that it was the best meal we’d eaten in a long time. Our favorite dish was a California-inspired flatbread, light enough to save room for other dishes, but substantial enough to make a lasting impression.

For tonight’s menu, I’ve decided to bring a bit of our quiet, relaxed weekend back to the buzzing city – keeping the same flavors but melting them into travel-friendly quesadillas. Like the New York upper class society in Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, a simple shell masks the complex flavors hidden inside. I’m confident that the opera singers won’t be the only stars of the show tonight!

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4 tortillas

1 cup shredded mozzarella

8 slices prosciutto

8 sage leaves, chopped

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup water

Instruction:

1. In small saucepan, bring water, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar to a simmer. Allow to reduce down for about ten minutes, until the mixture reaches glaze-like consistency. (You can test this by seeing if the glaze coats the back of a spoon.) Allow to cool.

2. In food processor, pulse mozzarella until creamy.

3. Working with two tortillas at a time, spread the mozzarella mixture on both. (Leave a half-inch border, as mozzarella will spread when it melts.) Lay prosciutto slices and sage leaves, and drizzle balsamic glaze on one side, and fold the second over so that both spread sides are facing inwards (as a sandwich). Repeat for as many quesadillas as you require.

4. Bake on one side for 5 minutes in a 180-degree oven. Carefully flip the quesadillas, and bake for 3-5 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into quarters.

*Note: sage has a very strong flavor, so use sparingly!

Enjoy mozzarella quesadillas with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, and check in at http://warandpeach.com for future recipes and book reviews!