Monday, December 6, 2010

Triple red ruby

Two years ago today I met Jeff. Last night I made dinner for him to celebrate this auspicious occasion. To be honest I think he was more impressed that I cleaned my room (i.e. swept pencil shavings under the carpet and threw all my dirty clothes in the closet) than he was by any of the food.

I don't like to take too many food photos when I'm serving other people, but I was really proud of all of this and I decided to just take one or two quick snapshots of each dish. As a result, Jeff had to wait around while his food got cold and all my pictures are blurry and messy. This will go down in history as the best compromise since Don't Ask Don't Tell.

This is a take on a nicoise salad--kind of an autumnal version. It has the usual tuna, green beans, avocado, and medium-cooked eggs. Then because I figured that tomatoes were out of season, I added some tomato flavor by preserving cooked yellow beans in tomato jam for a week. Little did I know that I would have one nice, plump, beautiful, perfectly ripe Early Girl left from my last tomato harvest at the end of November--how could I resist throwing that in?

Jeff doesn't like olives, which is horrible and totally unacceptable, so instead of olives I took lima beans and let them sit in a mixture of salt and extra virgin olive oil for a week, and that worked pretty well. They ended up just a little salty, but they were fine when you ate them with the other parts of the salad, and I didn't have to feel bad about consciously serving something Jeff hated at a dinner that is ostensibly in his honor.

Then I tossed some arugula with tarragon and parsley, coated it in a preserved meyer lemon vinaigrette, and set that down on the side. Overall this might have been the best salad that I have ever made--there were so many different combinations of things to try together that you got a new taste sensation in every bite, yet all the flavors were balanced pretty well. Nice job coming up with this ingredient combination, Nice.

This is socca, and if you don't make socca all the time, you really should--it's one of the world's most perfect foods. I served this and the salad with a rose wine from Provence, because rose wine is badass.

This is a broccoli soup that never really worked no matter what I did to it. It just didn't have much broccoli flavor, which is weird because it consists of only broccoli pureed with the water the broccoli was cooked in. Jeff's favorite part was the pomegranate seeds, which is great because they only made it onto the dish after I forgot to put them on the salad. There are also some walnuts and Purple Haze goat cheese, both of which did have flavor and helped the soup out a lot.
This is some roast chicken, which everybody knows Jeffrey loves. I put some thinly sliced potatoes and shallots under the chicken to soak up the drippings, and then I served all that with some precious tiny brussels sprouts that I tossed with brown butter. I thought this was all pretty tasty and just very harvesty. I served this and the broccoli soup with a Cotes-du-Rhone that Jeff and I tried on our trip to Portland last year.
This is the cheese plate. Following the rose and the Cotes-du-Rhone I was having maybe a little too much fun with my plates, so there is a lot of white wine mustard on that cheese plate. Luckily it worked pretty well with the cheddar, whole wheat toast, caramelized onions, and apples. Oh, and Chimay. A bottle of Chimay.

Finally, this is brioche french toast with hazelnut ice cream and caramel sauce. I know that this kind of looks like an autopsy--no, like a biopsy--but, well, see how your french toast looks after a bottle of wine and half a bottle of Chimay. You know, I wasn't really expecting this whole dinner to go from 7:30 PM until midnight so that we could celebrate the actual date of our anniversary, but, well, I made it happen anyway!

I do not 100% remember making this but I do remember that 1) I had to wake Jeff up so he could eat it; 2) he claimed to be too full to eat more than one bite and I did not accept this protestation; and 3) I fell asleep on the floor shortly after finishing the remainder of his french toast.

Little did we know we were also celebrating the 77th anniversary of the 21st amendment.

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