Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Intimate Dinner for Miss Z. and Guest

Lately I've made some huge changes in my life and while it's all been exciting it's also been very stressful. My life in the past 6 months has changed drastically professionally and personally. I've decided to pursue a longtime dream of finally changing careers and personally I've made many small changes that seem to add up. I've been taking it one step at a time, but there are times when the stress is overwhelming. There's a the thrill of the unknown and the sneaking fear that snakes it's way into my heart as I contemplate my new uncertain future. In times like this what's a girl to do, but to have a handsome surfer come over to my house for dinner. It's always a joy to be able to sit down with him talking about our weeks and relaxing with a plate of food.

It's been a stressful couple of months and the last few weeks in particular as I've been trying to nail down the little details. There's still miscellaneous items to be worked out, but for the moment I was ready to simply relax with a nice intimate dinner. I cooked because Surfer Boy we'll call him E. for now on doesn't cook at all. He's particularly amazed when he looks in my fridge and sees fresh food that needs to be prepared. Apparently it's shocking to him that anybody would take the time to cook when something can be so easily microwaved. Although, that has never stopped him from eating anything I make or requesting that I make him his favorite dish of chicken pesto pasta. Thankfully like my father I enjoy cooking and sharing my joy of life through my food.

We started off with a cheese plate, which frankly I didn't take pictures of since E. devoured it all before I could take pictures. It was however for the record a nice cheese plate with double creme Gouda, jack cheese, salami, crackers and grapes. I would like you readers to know though that double cream Gouda is amazing lusciously creamy and soft with amazing amounts of yummy flavor.

We sat down to a dinner of roasted mushroom ravioli from Home Maid Ravioli Co. bought at my local farmer's market topped with a creamy sun dried tomato sauce. On the side was shiitake and asparagus saute and white wine of course. We lit the candles sipped our wine and just talked while eating. It was a peaceful way to end a stressful week and I'm so glad that I had somebody to share it with. There are days when I need nothing more than a ear tilted my way and E. provided that. I finally relaxed for the first time in weeks just being present with somebody who makes me laugh so much. Then we ended up in food coma from the raviolis with the amazing cream sauce. Yummy!

Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce:
1/2 Cup sun-dried tomato pesto
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup of whole milk, half and half or cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced basil

1) On med. heat melt butter for 1-2 minutes. Once butter is melted add in flour and make a light roux another 3-4 minutes.
2) Add sun dried tomato pesto to the roux and stir till incorporated. At this point add the milk in a little at a time being careful not to scald the milk. If the sauce is too thick add in more milk or even a little pasta cooking water.
3) Toss with the cooked pasta and garnish with basil.

Sauteed Shiitake & Asparagus:
1 cup or 8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

1) On med. heat heat up the olive oil. In the meantime slice the shiitakes and asparagus.
2) Once the oil is hot stir in the shiitakes and saute for 4-5 minutes until the shiitakes start to get a little brown.
3) Toss the asparagus and saute for another 7-10 minutes. Add in salt at the end and pepper to taste.