Today hasn’t gone as planned. That’s okay, know why? Because that’s kind of like romance and relationships. Things don’t always go as planned.
As you may recall, tonight’s dinner was supposed to be my friend and I cooking dinner for our ladies to celebrate Valentines, his recent engagement, and my 15th Anniversary. He and I had already picked the menu. We went to Fresh Market on Friday to get the groceries. It was all in place.
Unfortunately, Robert got hit with a malevolent stomach virus about 24 hours ago, so the whole “guys cooking for the gals” deal wasn’t going to happen. That’s okay, know why? Because I just shifted to family mode and cooked the dinner for Alexis and the two boys. I just kept the original menu which was all new recipes for me.
It was still very romantic, because I blew her socks off with this meal. As soon as I am done here, I’m going to work on the rest of her clothing! (What? That was funny!)
Mixed Spring Greens with Roasted Raspberry Chipolte Vinaigrette
This was easy, just a spring mix salad, red onion and the dressing. I made the dressing by mixing a bit more than 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with a bit less than 1/2 cup of Fischer and Wieser’s Rasberry Chipolte sauce. Then I whisked in a cup of olive oil. It was “easy, peasy, goodness – Weezy!” It was the last of the bottle, so I rinsed it out and used it to hold the vinaigrette. Alexis LOVED it.
Crab Cakes with Sweet Red Bell Pepper Sauce
This one is from Wolfgang Puck’s Live, Love, Eat! and the sauce is different than the one he has posted by the same name on his website. I’d post it all but the crab cake alone has 18 ingredients and was the most complicated thing I cooked all day. It was the best crab cake I’ve ever made. I’ll post the sauce which is excellent and would work with many other dishes. I added cayenne pepper just for a little extra kick. It’s sweet and spicy, just like a relationship should be.
Sweet Red Bell Pepper Sauce
5 Tablespoons butter
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
leaves from 2 springs of thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
juice of 1/2 medium lemon
Melt 3 TB of the butter over medium low heat and saute the pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme until softened (about 8-10 minutes). Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the cream and return to a simmer then remove from heat.
Puree the mixture in a blender until smooth. The recipe calls for straining, but I didn’t find it necessary, the texture was perfect. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to serve, place back over medium heat. When warm, add the other 2 TB of butter and lemon juice.
Asparagus in a Fig Infused Balsamic Vinaigrette
This is a cold asparagus dish courtesy of Fresh Market’s 25th Anniversary cookbook. Here’s a link to the recipe but I do recommend this cook book, it’s full of good recipes. I liked the mix of green and white asparagus, it is symbolic for the “ying & yang, give and take, opposites attract” of relationships. This pic was before I added the blue cheese (I skipped the walnuts).
Penne Pasta with Italian Sausage in a Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce
Another good one from Fresh Market (recipe here).
This is Alexis’ hands down favorite dessert ever and I never made it before tonight. What the hell is wrong with me? Plus, I got to play with my MAPP gas torch to caramelize the sugar.
It was a long day with some unexpected turns but seeing how much Alexis absolutely enjoyed every bit of it made it well worth it.
The most memorable moment came about 6:00pm, just before dinner. We took a quick break to bathe, change clothes, and just get cute. It occurred to me as we were “primping”, that we were still trying to impress each other even after 15 years of marriage.
Sigh….I’m a lucky dude.