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.
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.
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!").
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.
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
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.
12 servings (serving size: 1 cup)
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
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.
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
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.
6 servings (serving size: 1 wedge)
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