A couple of you have checked back in to ask how Friday night’s dinner turned out. Well, if I do say so myself – and I think Curt would agree – it was pretty freakin’ fabulous! And not just because I have mad skillz in the kitchen. I can’t tell you about the rest of the evening because, well, my mom reads this blog, and also, some things are better left to the imagination. (Seriously, Mom. Don’t ask. Don’t.) But I will happily share the dinner menu:
Jumbo Lump Crabcakes. We enjoy dining at Clyde’s restaurants in this area, and the have their crabcake recipe posted on their website. I found a great sale on jumbo lump crabmeat at Giant – only $22 for a pound (compared to $33 at Whole Paycheck Foods). There’s little else in the recipe… I substituted a dab of ginger-lime aioli from this recipe for some of the plain mayonnaise to add a bit of extra kick (and was glad I used only one garlic clove in the aioli instead of the two called for in the recipe). The crabcakes barely held together. I made 4 piles of the mixture on foil on a cookie sheet and broiled them, then carefully transferred to our plates.
Risotto with balsamic reduction. That sounds super-glamorous, but really, it couldn’t be easier. A friend and loyal reader has a relative who’s a chef and she was nice enough to pass along a real, chef-tested, professionally-endorsed risotto recipe. But you know what, I’ve been making this risotto recipe for years in – shhh! - my microwave (I know!), and it turns out pretty darn good. And balsamic reduction? I had to Google it, but you know what it is? You put balsamic vinegar in a pot on the stove and boil it till it reduces and becomes thick and resembles – yes – motor oil. That’s it. I added a dab of sugar and I probably cooked it too long because it darn near solidifed once it cooled. WARNING: Don’t put your face over the steaming pan of vinegar; just stir at arm’s length with a really long spoon. (You’re welcome.)
Roasted baby asparagus spears wrapped in roasted red pepper strips. I tossed super-skinny asparagus spears in some olive oil and kosher salt, then broiled for a few mins. Then I laid two thin roasted red pepper strips on the plate, piled the spears on top and wrapped the strips around. Then I sprinked some toasted sliced almonds on top. Because it’s all in the presentation, y’all.
Garnish. I would love to say I had a picture to share with you, but my flippin’ camera is still with the good folks at Nikon, apparently waiting for some backordered parts so they can make the warranty repair. To say I’m a little bit annoyed is like saying that my dog sheds a wee bit, or my husband kinda likes ice hockey. You’ll just have to use your imagination. I laid sprigs of flat-leaf parsley (the only thing that grew as a result of my pathetic attempt at gardening this year) on the plate and on top of them placed two overlapping thin slices of lemon. Then I took two strips of roasted red pepper strips and fashioned them into the shape of a heart. (All together now: awwwwwww!) Can you stand the cuteness? I know – neither can I.
Dessert ended up being, quite simply, some melted semi-sweet chocolate, into which we dipped strawberries and black raspberries. Or maybe they were blackberries. Whatever they were, they were juicy-good in a berry sort of way. The wine was a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay.
Best thing of all? We had the house to ourselves. The kids (and dog) were elsewhere. (Thanks, Steph!) Dinner is not usually a leisurely occasion in our house, so it was nice to be able to take our time, to talk without being interrupted, to not have to censor our words for the G/PG-rated audience.
I want to thank you all for your suggestions – your comments gave me some great ideas and really were helpful. The ones I didn’t use this time, I’ve tucked away with thoughts of future romantic dinners in-house, because this was a scenario worth repeating.
And THAT is all I’m going to say about THAT. Because, like I said, my mom reads this blog.