Honey Pecan Baked French Toast

For Christian’s Mom’s last full day visiting us in San Francisco I decided to make us a special Breakfast...but the funny twist is that the recipe comes from a quirky cookbook that my girlfriends bought me 5+ years ago for my bachelorette party called “Intercourses.”  The whole idea behind the cookbook is that it is focused on ingredients that are supposed aphrodisiacs, such as honey (I guess?).  But the recipe sounded more delicious than naughty to me...so I decided it was perfectly acceptable for a Mom-in-Law farewell brunch!  Weird?  Maybe.  Scrumptious?  Definitely!
Wasabi Mustard Fish with Whole Wheat Cous Cous & Steamed Broccoli
This is a DIY night so feel free to wing it and do whatever you would like with fish (we like Tilapia, Halibut and Red Snapper), grain and a veggie. I have this delicious Wasabi-Sake Mustard from We Olive that I am going to use as a bit of a marinade with some salt and pepper and then just pan fry it and serve it along with whole wheat cous cous and broccoli steamed with a bit of ginger and sesame oil. Nice and easy...enjoy!  
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter & Bittersweet Chocolate

The one big, perfect ravioli!

This is one of our favorite pasta recipes...we’ve been making it since 2005 when I think I first saw it on Michael Chiarello’s then Food Network Show.  Over the past years though it has become even better because we’ve started making homemade pasta (with my fancy Kitchen Aid attachment...makes homemade pasta so easy!  We honestly never buy any flat noodled dry pasta anymore). But don’t fear, you certainly don’t have to go that far to make this dish a winner, feel free to buy pasta sheets.  The filling is sweet, rich and complex while the sage butter sauce is rich and savory (put lots more sage than it calls for if you like sage...it’s so yummy in this dish).  And then finishing it off with shavings of bittersweet chocolate is pure genius!
Shakshuka



I LOVE eggs...so much so that I often say if I was stuck on a desert island for the rest of my life with only one food to eat eggs would be my immediate choice.  So versatile, delicious and nutritious.  That means when I find an egg meal worthy of dinner I get very excited.  A friend of mine shared this recipe with me that she found a while ago on smittenkitchen.com (which is a fab site that I aspire to be even 50% as great as some day!) and swears she makes it at least once a month now, so I’m looking forward to adding it to my recipe repertoire!
Braised Broccoli Rabe with Orecchiette

This is another one of our old-standby favorite recipes which makes it into the rotation almost once a month.  It’s super easy and oh-so delicious...I consider it a slightly more upscale comfort food. Great for a cold or rainy night, the type of dish that warms the soul and makes the house smell delish.

Broccoli Rabe is also known as Rapini and what we love about it in particular is how the greens develop a slightly bitter, horseradish-like flavor, yum.  Orecchiette is an ear shaped pasta that stays nice and firm when cooked so that it has a nice bite to it.  Try this one out, you'll love it...I promise!
Giada’s Osso Bucco with Cheesy Polenta

So Osso Bucco seems like something that shouldn’t be on a regular recipe rotation, but ever since I first made this recipe two New Years Eve’s ago I’m looking for every excuse I can to make it again!  And Giada's Cheesy Polenta, while certainly not healthy, is absolutely to die for! This Sunday I'm using the excuse of welcoming Christian’s mom here after she flies in from Massachusetts to make this indulgent dish again.
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.
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: