My brother took his two older girls to see the Lion King in Hartford on Sunday evening, so we got to spend some time with my turning-3-in-March nephew. He came with a short sleeve t-shirt, so we bundled him up in some of our smaller sweatshirts, mittens and hat and headed out into the yard to feed the chickens and swing the racket and hockey stick that I wouldn’t let him swing inside. Dante mentioned that he’d like to go visit Luke who was skating at the cranberry bog, so we piled into the car and headed out to get the wiggles out before settling down to watch the Superbowl.
The little man and I kept our boots on, but Dante and Lucia popped on their skates and sailed about on the ice for a while. The damn on the bog had broken this summer, so the first half of the winter was sadly skateless. Luckily, it was fixed before the torrential rains we had a month or so ago, and the bog filled back up and froze pretty soon thereafter. We love skating outdoors (and by “we”, I find that I mean Luke and the kids. I like to go along and chase people with my feet firmly tied up in my wonderful new boots that are super-soft and comfortable — everything my ice skates are not) and missed having this convenient skating option so close by.
It was pretty chilly and windy on the ice, so once occasional respite by the bonfire wasn’t able to warm us sufficiently, we left Luke and Dante to finish their hockey game with some of the other local kids and headed home to get the party started. Lucia adored taking care of her little cousin, and was glowing with pride at this newly discovered ability. She’s usually playing with his older sisters, getting frustrated with him as he innocently destroys whatever project or game they have going. Now she saw a more charming side of him and she responded in kind.
She ushered him about and entertained him while I made our eclectic fare (which means I didn’t think of how everything would go together, but instead picked random things I’d been craving) - bean dip, cucumber arame salad, veggies with mayo dip and Ani Phyo’s mediterranean dolmas. I got the bean dip in the oven first, so that the boys would have something warm to eat when they got back. The mayo and dolma filling I’d made earlier in the week, so it was just a matter of chopping some veggies and slicing up the collards. Pretty quick and easy to get to the table. The cucumber salad was also fairly fast to prep, and it hit the table at the same time as the bean dip finished warming in the oven.
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- collard leaves
- Soak the tomatoes in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes, until soft. Mix together the dill, raisins, nuts, oil, and salt. Add the tomatoes and mix well.
- Cut the collard leaf from its stem. Cut each leaf piece in half, for a total of four roughly equal-sized pieces.
- Fill each leaf piece with a quarter of the tomato-raisin-nut filling. Fold down the top and bottom edges of each leaf, rotate it 90 degrees, and roll it up. Repeat with each leaf piece. Serve at room temperature.
I don’t soak the tomatoes, and often forget that they already have salt on them. If I add the salt the recipe calls for, it’s a bit much. I also don’t tend to chop by hand — I toss it all in the food processor and pulse til it’s chopped and mixed. I also really like this mixture smooshed into the dent in celery sticks, on top of salads, spread in sandwiches, etc. It keeps in the fridge for several days and is a quick sweet and salty snack that really satisfies.