Foodie Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Christian and I celebrated V Day on Sunday with a trip to the SF Ballet to see Giselle (fabulous!) and dinner at Paul K (a bit underwhelming).  But we also celebrated on V Day proper by cooking a nice meal at home and popping a bottle of bubbly so I thought I would review both celebrations.

I’ll start with the dinner we made ourselves on Valentine’s Day itself...a nice bottle of 2006 Mumm Blanc de Blanc, Mussels Steamed in a Spicy Tomato-Cilantro Broth with a DIY salad of Arugula, Beets, Fresh Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese drizzled with truffle honey, balsamic, olive oil, salt & pepper.  Dessert was homemade chocolate dipped strawberries.
Menu: Feb 13-19, 2011
Sunday: Paul K after Giselle at the SF Ballet (thanks Christian!)

Monday: Valentines Day Dinner! Mussels Steamed in Spicy Tomato-Cilantro Broth, French Bread and Arugula/Beet/Ricotta Salata Salad Chocolate Dipped Strawberries for Dessert

Tuesday: Grilled Spiced Eggplant with Minted Yogurt Stacks, Sauteed Spinach and Garlic Toasted Bread

Wednesday: Chicken & Dumplings (DIY Day!)

Thursday: leftovers: Eggplant, Mushroom & Onion Quesadillas (DIY)

Friday: leftovers:  Chicken & Dumplings

Saturday: Eat out

Chicken & Dumplings

This is a DIY day recipe!  So feel free to be creative and create your own recipe, go on-line and find a new recipe or make something else entirely.  That’s the beauty & flexibility of DIY Days in the Menu.

However, if your curious here is my general approach for this dinner when I make it...I grew up eating this so it has evolved from my mother’s recipe over the years:
Grilled Spiced Eggplant with Minted Yogurt Stacks



So it happens sometimes...you spend the time and energy trying a new recipe and you just don’t love it.  Oh well.  It’s not that this recipe was bad....there just wasn’t anything super compelling about it and to be honest I kind of felt like I was eating a vegetarian Gyro without the onions, tomato & pita (which I kind of missed....so maybe fold these stacks up and throw them in a pita!).

The eggplant cooked up nicely though and made delicious quesadillas for my leftover day (combined with sauteed mushrooms, onions and canned artichoke hearts).  The minted yogurt was a nice twist on Tzatziki but would fare better as a sauce than a substantial filling.

Foodie Day Trip: Napa

We’ve been having such fantastic weather that Christian and I decided to take an impromptu trip up to Napa this past Saturday...we brought our bikes, hit the Oxbow Public Market for lunch and then rode around to a few wineries.  I’ll warn you though...starting your day in Napa at the Oxbow Public Market may risk you never making it to any wineries at all!

If you haven’t been to the Oxbow Public Market you should check it out, it’s fabulous.  If your from the Bay Area, upon arriving it will be no surprise to learn that the founder, Steve Carlin, has 20 years of experience with the Oakville Grocery Company and was a project manager of the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace.  It’s right across the river from downtown Napa where other fabulous foodie outposts are as well, such as the Fatted Calf Charcuterie and Model Bakery.
Pork & Noodle Soup with Shrimp

Christian cooked the Pork Noodle Soup with Shrimp (recipe below) tonight since work ran a bit late for me.  That’s another fabulous thing about having a menu posted on the fridge...if I’m not around Christian can dive right in and at least start cooking for us!

Christian’s a good cook, but can get a bit flustered at times so the fact that he told me that this was an easy recipe means it really is easy which makes it perfect for weeknights.  And we both think that it turned out a restaurant quality soup...so much so that we had a hard time restraining ourselves and saving enough for our leftovers night!
Balsamic Chicken, Polenta & Rapini

I stumbled upon this Balsamic chicken recipe (Giada’s) when making a spread for my best friend’s bachelorette party, but it was so yummy that I have a hard time keeping it to chicken drummett appetizers as it calls for and instead have started making it as a regular chicken dinner with either full-size drumsticks or chicken breasts.

When it comes to the polenta, Giada’s cheesy polenta is the absolute best, but if you’re trying to be healthy I would suggest you simply make it according to the directions on your polenta package and add a touch of cream/cheese/butter to taste along with some fresh herbs. Lastly, Rapini (or broccoli raab) is our favorite vegetable lately...we usually roast it at high heat with grape tomatoes and olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper for about 15 minutes...nutty, a bit crunchy and so delicious!    
Super Bowl Sunday!

This year it’s just the two of us, which is pretty rare.  But to be honest, it’s pretty rare that our Pat’s aren’t in it and we’re not super invested, so we’re keeping it low key.  That being said, we still want to feel like it’s the Super Bowl so I’m making the following relatively simple snacking menu: