My husband had a brilliant idea for my parents' anniversary: we would cook them a delicious meal to enjoy at home. My contributions to the idea: they would buy and pay for the food, they would watch the baby while we cooked (like a date!), my mom would make two of the things ahead of time (actually, that was her idea, but I like the way she's thinking), my dad would help clean up (not his idea), and (my best contribution) we would eat the food too [at least I didn't make my mom hold the baby while we eat like usual].
It was a bright sunny day (which is why my pictures look almost like they were taken with an actual camera), we had just run ten miles (and eaten an entire brie baked in puff pastry with jam...but that's another story), and we had "dinner" (like my grandmas used to serve -- as opposed to supper) at 3pm, so we were home before fussy time.
Here's what we made:
Combine: 1/3c sourdough starter (optional), 2c warm water, 1T yeast, 1T salt, 1T sugar, enough white flour to make a dough that comes together, but is a little sticky and not too hard. Knead for 2 minutes until most flour is incorporated. Rise, covered, in a warm place until at least doubled (it won't take that long). Bake on parchment paper on a stone (drizzle liberally with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt first [2 adverbs!]) at 475 degrees for 5 minutes, 450 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the top is quite brown, almost too brown. That, and the olive oil, will give you a delicious crack-crust (yes, it is made of crack).
Soup (from Real Simple
Sautee 2 leeks (cut up), salt and pepper, and 4T butter until soft. Add 6c broth, 1 bunch broccoli and one potato, chopped. Cook until done, about 20 mins. Add 5oz spinach and wilt. Puree with your hand blender. Top with sour cream and black pepper.
Pasta and sauce:
Cook one box linguine and toss with lots of olive oil. For the sauce, sautee 2 leeks and 2 shallots, chopped into small rings, 1T minced garlic, salt and pepper, 1t dried thyme, 1t dried sage in plenty of olive oil until just browning. Add 1/2 pint light cream, a few T at a time, alternating with the same amount of sherry (if you use cooking sherry, go easy on the salt), cook on low until just sticky, stirring, 10-20 mins. You can let the pasta and sauce stand on low heat (separately) while you cook the scallops.
Sautee 2 shallots and 1T garlic, minced, with 3T butter, 3T olive oil, 1t each dried parsley, tarragon, cilantro. Get the pan really hot and add the scallops. Squeeze two lemons over them and splash with 3T sherry. Wait until they are brown on the bottom. Flip. Allow other side to brown. Serve next to the pasta (and pour any extra sauce/crispy brown shallots and garlic over them).
Chocolate pudding a la my grandma:
This is a classic recipe that my mom grew up with. She also puts this in a pie crust for chocolate pie, which almost makes me like pie. The great thing about this recipe is that it uses an equal number of yolks and whites. In the top of a double boiler, combine 1.5c milk, 1c sugar, 2oz chocolate [this doesn't sound like a lot but it's really chocolate-y], and melt. Beat 3 yolks, 1/2c milk, and 1/3c flour until smooth. Add to the double boiler. Cook until thick and add 2T butter and 1t vanilla. Pour into ramekins or a pre-baked (but homemade, please) pie crust. Then, beat 3 egg whites until foamy [my mom would like me to remind you to always beat egg whites in a metal or glass bowl, never plastic], then beat in 2T sugar (slowly, or it could fall) and 1t vanilla. Gently spoon/fold this on top of the pudding and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes (closer to 20 for a pie). You can make this the day before and leave it sitting at a cool room temp gently covered with wax paper.
|top with raspberries for the non-purists like me and my husband|
Then, cuddle up with your baby and watch a nice Ken Burns documentary (we are watching two simultaneously...well, you know what I mean), because you will be in a food coma. My parents figured that this meal cost about $50 including wine, which is what it would cost for one person at a restaurant, without tax and tip.
I moss you,