THOMAS J. STORY
The busier life gets, the more I value the refuge of Sunday dinner. It's just my husband, my daughters, and I around the table, touching base before the week takes us in different directions and our evening routine becomes speed eating or calling for take-out pizza.
Sunday is my day for relaxed cooking, for putting on my decades-old apron and enjoying a glass of Chardonnay while I make dinner. On Sundays I'm drawn to nostalgic entrées, like pot roast with potatoes, but since traditional fare like this runs the risk of being bland, I always add a little twist. The only other given is an irresistible aroma to lure my girls to the kitchen for conversation long before the meal is ready.
My daughters have their favorites. In summer they like a gigantic Caesar salad, with garlicky homemade croutons and spicy prawns. Other times we'll grill marinated tri-tip alongside mixed peppers, squash, and asparagus. One of the simple joys of September I cherish most is that feeling of holding on to summer that comes from grilling and eating out in the backyard.
If I had to pick the perfect Sunday dinner in September for my family, this one from associate Food editor Amy Traverso would do easily. It starts with beautifully simple crudités and an avocado-mint dipping sauce my daughters love. The classic roast chicken moves onto the grill, with a spice rub to give it extra kick. For a clever, casual side dish, Amy packed sweet potatoes and onions into foil packets bursting with flavor. And if you really want to show off (and get your family to stick around longer), finish the meal with Amy's old-fashioned apple crisp ― "baked" right on the grill.