Last week Adam and I were home on Friday night. It’s a fairly rare thing these days, so we decided we wanted to make it somewhat nice. Our dinner was a weeknight meal we’d had planned but had put off, and while it’s a meal we really enjoy – it wasn’t quite “special.” The perfect remedy for this? An awesome dessert. Oh yes.
Archive for August, 2010
Inspired by our discovery of a garlic soufflé, Adam and I decided to tackle cooking lamb for the first time. Everyone else plans their mains based on a side dish, right?
Initially we were going to make a braised lamb shank in our dutch oven, but we had difficulty finding lamb shanks. The butcher recommended we try a butterflied leg of lamb instead – and it worked beautifully. A very simple method from Bittman proved very satisfying and not too overwhelming for our first lamb attempt. It was also a good excuse to try the broil setting on our oven for the first time!
In playing with the Epicurious app on my iPhone, I stumbled upon a recipe for Roasted Garlic Soufflé. It had me at “3 large heads garlic, left whole, plus 3 garlic cloves, smashed.”
Cari and I have trouble resisting anything with lots of garlic, as was evidenced at an early dinner party where we served a garlic soup that had about a head of garlic in each bowl. And so, as has happened so many times before at 71, an indulgent-sounding side dish served as the inspiration for a full meal. We ended up eating this with an oven-broiled butterflied leg of lamb. More on that later.
Upon our return from Italy, we were determined to cook as frequently as possible. Trouble is – as we’ve observed on many occasions – it’s difficult to find recipes that are equally healthy, convenient and satisfying.
Enter Joy of Cooking and their recipe for Mediterranean Chicken in Foil. Although Cari and I were familiar with the preparation of fish in the oven wrapped in foil, we never thought to try it with chicken. Ultimately our chicken breasts came out extremely tender and loaded with flavour. Such is the benefit of cooking it in such close quarters with olives, basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
You wouldn’t think a former Olympic athlete would inspire us to actually cook something, but we got this recipe from the unusual Food Network series What Would Brian Boitano Make? We’ve found ourselves watching this show more and more – and getting more impressed with the recipes he comes up with! This one combines elements of a calzone with beef wellington.
We’ve been wanting to make beef wellington for awhile now, but have been a bit intimidated by the process, and it’s also a big commitment for just two people. This recipe allowed us to make something similar that was portion controlled and quite easy. We even froze a few of them for consumption later in the week.
Adam & I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on August 5. We were excited to have the opportunity to spend it in Italy this year, and knew for sure that we wanted to use the day as an excuse to break from the group. Florence seemed like a good choice. We’d been before, on our first trip to Italy 7 years ago, but it was the closest major city and one we were happy to return to.
Unfortunately, just as our train from Certaldo set off to Florence, it started raining. Then it started pouring. By the time we arrived, it was torrential. We were both in shorts and t-shirts and had one little umbrella between us. We had to go to the bathroom. We were hungry. It didn’t look good.
“Wait… you mean buffalo mozzarella actually comes from buffaloes?” It’s a question that has been posed to us many times during the planning, execution, and telling of our trip to Tenuta Vannulo. I guess it makes sense that people would ask that. Buffalo wings don’t actually come from buffaloes…
Our trip to Italy was an extremely generous undertaking on the part of the parents, so we were eager to do something to thank them and acknowledge their generosity. Our initial thought was hiring a chef to come to the villa, but we soon realized that that was something they had already planned on. Cari had remembered visiting Tenuta Vannulo, a buffalo mozzarella farm, as part of a tour group organized by her mom, so we decided that would be a unique and fun activity for the group. (more…)
One of the activities my uncle and mother had planned from the beginning was to have the owners of the second villa cook us dinner on the last night when all 13 of us were together. Although some of us would have another few nights at the villa, three were leaving the very next day.
Roberto, one of the owners of our villa in Tuscany, prepared one of the most memorable meals we had during the entire trip. It really was our very own Big Night.
- primi piatti: pasta with tomato sauce (prepared by our chef’s mother!)
- secondi: florentine steak with roasted potatoes
- cake (which we later learned was called mille foglie, but we called it a cannoli cake due to its flavour and texture)
When you have 13 people travelling together, it’s sometimes hard to get everyone on the same page about activities. A cooking class, arranged by Adam’s sister and cousin, was a great way to get everyone involved in a fun evening of cooking which resulted in a fabulous meal.
We made a four course meal consisting of bruschetta, pesto pasta, balsamic chicken, and panna cotta. (more…)
Our villa in Tuscany was located just 20 minutes from San Gimignano, a medieval walled city that is home to many restaurants, shops and a big attraction to tourists. Thanks to Divina Cucina (and my mom for finding her website), we had already eaten our best meal of the trip in Chianti. Who knew that later in the same day, she’d have just as good of a recommendation for dinner – one that was slightly off the beaten path and seemingly authentic?