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Anniversary Dinner

Tomorrow, Chris and I will celebrate our wedding anniversary. But since more often than not, he's on the road for our actual "anniversary" we celebrate on the weekend before. So last night we cooked a wonderful anniversary dinner together, then set the dining room with our fine china, popped the cork on some bubbly (and later a Dei Montepulciano de Nobile Riserve 1997) and enjoyed.

caviar

To start, I ordered some domestic caviar from Tsar Nicoulai. It arrived Friday afternoon on schedule and we kept it on ice for last night in the fridge. I also ordered a package of blini mix which Chris cooked up during the afternoon.

For our next course we enjoyed a Cream of Mushroom Soup (recipe at the end) along with some bruschetta (really more like crostini they were so thin), that Chris drizzled with some Umbrian olive oil.

Chris

For our main course, we had rack of lamb (a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa) which was topped with a mixture of fresh breadcrumbs, garlic and parsley. The lamb was cooked perfectly, juicy and tender (10 minutes roasted at 450, put on coating and then back in for another 15 minutes, then we let it rest).

To go along with the lamb, we also made a Potatoes Anna with Bacon and Romano (recipe at the end) which incredibly decadent as it was, also came from Cooking Light.

Lastly, we finished off the meal with some ice wine (thanks Jerry for turning us on to that), and a Pignoli and Honey tart from Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen. It's actually the cover recipe on the book. Amazing! Think pecan pie, but with pignoli and better tasting, moister filling. Easy and delicious - so now I've made two tarts and four batches of cookies and not a dud among them (oh by the way, Becky's favorites are the lemony semolina cookies too - she says, "They rock!").

Pignoli and Honey Tart.jpg

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry
From Cooking Light

This soup is an elegant first course. Half-and-half and sherry enrich the soup and infuse it with flavor. Using a blender rather than a food processor gives the soup a silky texture.

Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
2/3 cup chopped celery
8 cups sliced button mushrooms (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 7 ounces)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
6 tablespoons half-and-half
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Preparation
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to medium; add mushrooms and garlic. Cook 7 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring frequently. Add water, sage, salt, pepper, and broth; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 25 minutes. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
Place half of mushroom mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining mushroom mixture. Return soup to pan. Stir in half-and-half and sherry; cook over low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Sprinkle each serving with 1 teaspoon parsley.

Yield
12 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 71(24% from fat); FAT 1.9g (sat 0.7g,mono 0.8g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 4.7g; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 26mg; SODIUM 321mg; FIBER 1.9g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.4g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2002

Potatoes Anna with Bacon and Romano
From Cooking Light

Placing a heavy pan on top of the potatoes compresses the slices, which makes the finished dish easier to cut into wedges. Serve as an accompaniment to roasted chicken, pork, or beef.

Ingredients
3 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 pounds peeled baking potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Romano cheese, divided
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
Cooking spray


Preparation
Preheat oven to 375°.
Cook bacon in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Reserve 2 tablespoons drippings, and set aside. Add onion, pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add onion mixture to bacon.

Add the reserved drippings to pan. Arrange one-third of potato slices in a single layer in pan; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spread half of onion mixture over potato slices; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat procedure with the remaining potato slices, salt, onion mixture, and cheese, ending with potato slices. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour broth over top.

Lightly coat 1 side of foil with cooking spray. Cover pan with foil, coated side down. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Place a heavy ovenproof pan on top of foil. Bake an additional 55 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove pan from oven; cool 20 minutes on a wire rack. Uncover and gently loosen potatoes from pan with a spatula; invert onto a serving plate.

Yield
6 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 253(28% from fat); FAT 7.9g (sat 3.2g,mono 3.3g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 6.4g; CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 64mg; SODIUM 439mg; FIBER 2.9g; IRON 0.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 38.5g

Elizabeth Taliaferro , Cooking Light, MARCH 2001

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Other Thinks (5)

First of all - Congrats, again, on your Anniversary! Great to hear of happy couples. :)

Secondly - I have to stop reading your blog before dinner! Sounds like it was a marvelous feast -- I'm bookmarking these recipes.

kim:

Thanks Colleen! Yeah - those Potatoes Anna were decadent. Think I'm going to reheat some of the soup for lunch today.

I try not to read Palma's or Jerry's Blog on an empty stomach either.

Kim, Happy Anniversary, and thank you for posting that delicious sounding meal. I have to admit that I have been avidly following your progress as you bake your way through Dolce Italiano. I can't wait to get that book!

That sounds like a great meal. I'll have to try that soup recipe - I have a similar one I make with tyhme. It is finished off with a drizzle of white truffle oil - YUM.

I'm glad that you are enjoying ice wine - I can't say as if I love the stuff but I am developing more of an appreciation of it. It is a good substitute for when I am unable to find Vin Santo.

kim:

Krista - the book is fabulous, really. For writing alone but I'm not a baker and these recipes are great. I'll never be afraid to make a tart again. Which reminds me, I still want to do the almond fingers next. I'll be baking some cookies/biscotti from it to bring to Paso in February.

Jerry - we couldn't find my sage for the soup so ended up subbing some herbs de provence (forgot to note that above) but it worked great. We like the ice wine, especially in the summer (we're on the cusp of the season now), because it's lighter on the pallete I guess. I like my vin santo with biscotti but have such a hard time finding decent vin santo around here and we kicked our last bottle from Italy in the spring.

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