Friday, February 18, 2011

Better Late

I sort of dropped the ball on Valentine's Day this year. Tobie had planned to get me a massage as a gift (wicked!) but then I fell in love with this scarf in Galway. And I was given the option to choose.

Chose scarf.

I couldn't find anything for him and I didn't want to buy something just for the sake of buying it.

So I cooked him a Valentine's Day dinner. But like most important meals I make, it was chaos on wheels. I had to go to four different stores to find everything. Buckwheat flour? Ceramic ramekins? What? Oh, and about 2 hours to do the shopping and cooking. I almost always try new things when I am under the gun. No idea why.

Thankfully I had some of the more exotic things on hand (well, exotic by some Irish standards). See I knew those vanilla pods, dried mustard, and bakers chocolate from AVOCA would come in handy some day! Mwahahahahahah!

Initial chaos. Bad idea to try 3 new recipes at once? Um. Yeah. And yes that is a washing machine in my kitchen. Welcome to Ireland.

So these were the appetizers--buckwheat and cheddar blinis with smoked salmon. The recipe is here. Possibly the finest achievement of the night was that MY version actually looked BETTER than the Food and Wine magazine photo! That was definitely a first. Seriously, go look at their recipe. The below photo is mine. Also, I used mascarpone cream mixed with lemon juice, lemon zest, and snipped chives instead of sour cream (as the recipe called for).

The main course was supposed to be this scallops with brussel sprouts dish. But for the life of me I couldn't get my hands on fresh scallops. Of course, the one day I am looking for them, nary a scallop is to be found.

So after much angst and gnashing of teeth, I decided to substitute smoked coley for the scallops in the recipe. And HELLO NURSE! It was actually quite nice, the smoked flavor went well with the pancetta. Not to mention the starving student budget points for saving money on le cheap fish instead of les scallope!
  Oh I should mention, Food and Wine kindy offers wine pairing suggestions. Conveniently I was doing a creamy, fishy appy and main (which probably goes against all the laws of 'treating your arteries right') so one wine cut it. I bought a mid-ranged Cabernet Sauvingon Blanc. I grabbed blind though because my white wine knowledge is even more limited than my red.  It was probably something that had a 'hand selected by SuperQuinn' sticker and '10% off' label on it. But, I have to say, the magazine's grape suggestion was bang on. The crispiness cut the cream and didn't bring out the fishiness.  So good work there Food and Wine magazine on the wine pairings! Do not quit your day jobs.

Dessert was a bit of an adventure as well.  I managed to find these ridiculously cute ramekins on sale. They even came with little lids. God I am a sucker for little lids, it must be a throwback from my early Easy Bake Oven days or something. 

I am a terrible/hopeless/pathetic baker so it is always a gamble when I get on the other end of a measuring spoon. But! My desserts turned out looking like some kinda fancy-schmancy little pots of heaven when I took them out of the oven! (Pictured above). And then I covered them with dessert-wine-soaked cherries and vanilla mascarpone cream--and made them wickedly evil.

A little HDL never killed anyone, right?
So despite the fact that the molten cakes weren't quite as molten as I'd like, and that my timing was a bit off (was whipping the cream while serving the main course, as evidenced by the flecks of mascarpone all over my microwave and backsplash). Tobie was a happy man. And I think I have regained both my sanity and my title as 'best girlfriend evah'.

Tobie was happy. I was happy. Lesson learned. 

Even though I should have been memorizing what antibodies are specific to systemic lupus erythematosus and drawing out the pathways of auto-immunity...I made buckwheat blini.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the gravity of SLE and the importance of keeping up with school work. But you know, sometimes you just gotta make buckwheat blini.


OMDG said...

Looks really delicious. I'm sorry to say I haven't cooked anything new, unique, or original in about 6 months...


Tobie is a lucky man.

(WV: Perch -- cheap fish alternative #2??)

Beach Bum said...

Someone very wise once said that all men really want are a sandwich and a blow job. Looks great!

Frazzled-Razzle-RN said...

Look's like a lovely meal. I think what beachbum said was true too!

Robert said...

You know, I was saying that just the other day, "Sometimes you just have to make buckwheat blini..."

Heck of a Valentine's meal, I'm a little jealous...

Anonymous said...

Om nom nom. That looks excellent.

Not McBeal and I recently tried a recipe for sweet and spicy salmon that turned out really well. Past that, the most exotic cooking I've done in the last 6 months was using peanut oil to cook my "Fridge Dump Stirfry" (evaluate remaining contents of fridge --> all that is still edible goes in pan)

Absentbabinski said...

That all looks beautiful and tasty. And I totally get the washing machine in kitchen thing ;)

Liana said...

Wow. That looks like an amazing meal.

Help said...

Looking at all that food makes me uber hungry....