Back in April, Nathan and I celebrated our four year anniversary. As he's a law student and I'm a terminally underpaid editorial assistant, we opted to stay in and prepare a fancy meal for ourselves, much as we did for Valentine's Day. Nathan loves squid, so we braised some with red wine, leeks, thyme and some crunchy croutons, as seen above. We also had brought back some foie gras from the duty free shop in the Paris airport during our layover on our trip to Russia, so I made up some homemade ravioli in a cherry balsamic gastrique sauce with that. It was a great meal for a very special occasion.
Believe it or not, I actually made these Corona Blondies back in January for an Oscars party. I added lime zest and juice to the original recipe and called them Hawaiian Corona Blondies in honor of nominee The Descendants. It was a pretty tenuous link to the film, but Corona does like to market themselves as a beer to drink while lounging at the beach, so I figured it sort of fit together with the film's paradisaical setting.
Like my most recent entry (which was a while ago, sorry), this post doesn't feature the best looking photograph, but it does have one new take on a Cascone classic, as well as two brand new side dishes, so I hope that will help to make up for the poorly lit picture.
I'm truly disappointed in how these photos came out, but this meal was just too special for me not to talk about it just because it was kind of a hot mess for the camera. This year, with Nathan back at school, we've kind of scaled back on our big special occasion dinners, and have made fancy meals at home rather than shelling out the big bucks at a restaurant. For Valentine's Day we made this duck breast with orange gastrique, aligot mashed potatoes, braised leeks and then a lightening-fast chocolate mousse for dessert.
I am, in general, a pretty big sports fan. As a child, I may have asked my grandma to read me recipes instead of stories, but once I learned to read I also used to pour over the sports sections of Newsday every morning, obsessing over baseball standings.
So obviously, giant game-day feast, combining two of my earliest loves, hold a special place in my heart. Above, you can see my spread for Super Bowl Sunday, which Laura and Jess so kindly helped me to prepare. I basically made everything delicious and decidedly not healthy that I would want to eat at my ideal Super Bowl party, plus the markedly more elegant brie en croute. I don't know about you, but for me the menu would include guacamole, taco dip, penne alla vodka, swedish meatballs and spinach dip.
This pasta dish was actually spun off a couple of similar recipes that I had found for spinach with raisins and pine nuts, with almonds subbed in for their more expensive nut brethren, and spaghetti added to take this from side dish status to a full main course—aka all Sarah eats is pasta.
Sometimes, a perfectly good meal can also be incredibly, ridiculously easy. Like if you smash up half an avocado and a couple of anchovies on some toasted whole wheat bread, drizzle it with olive oil. All you need is a little cracked black pepper and maybe, MAYBE a little extra salt, although the anchovy may have things covered. Avocados have a great creamy sweetness to them, and the saltiness of the anchovy compliments that really nicely. If you are worried about the anchovy being too fishy, try just a small amount. Just make sure to use a really ripe avocado that's nice and soft.
As you may have realized, I like to read other food blogs, and that's where I tend to pick up my dinner ideas. However, sometimes (as with yesterday's entry) I like to just get down to business and cook, letting the ingredients take me where they will. That can lead to some plain sauteed spinach and fairly bland quinoa, but it can also lead to a legitimately awesome honey mustard pork chop.
So recently I told you about a meal that I thriftily prepared from ingredients I found tucked away in my cupboard, and how Nathan probably wouldn't approve since thinks he's better than everyone who gets some modicum of enjoyment from throwing together a dinner that way. I also mentioned that he's equally dismissive of "market meals." Basically, he just likes to be judgey when foodies are involved.
On that note, I'm afraid I'm going to have to out him, because this meal is entirely composed of food from the Union Square Market, and Nathan was totally complicit in its purchase and preparation.
As I think of what to write about this very traditional "meat and potatoes" type meal (literally), I realize just how infrequently I cook beef. That's healthy, I suppose, but also kind of a shame because I love meat and I love steak and ribs and all that good stuff. This meal, in particular, would totally be right at home on the menu of a steakhouse, albeit one with some heavy French influences. Like Les Halles.
Sarah and Nathan live in Harlem (he's on Edgecomb avenue, and she's 15 blocks south on 5th), and they cook a lot. She likes fresh organic vegetables and tries to make a note when recipes can be easily adapted to gluten free diet, as her brother can't eat wheat. He likes to make fun of her for using too much garlic.