Friday, February 20, 2009

a delicious, aphrodisiac filled meal

continuing our valentine's day food adventure, husband and i set out to make dinner. even after scarfing down our scallops and asparagus rolls, shopping all morning kept us hungry enough to make more food. when choosing dinner from the intercourses cookbook, we picked a meat, a starch, and a veggie. i grew up in wi...this is what we do.

valentine's dinner 2009:

cornish hens with strawberry-balsamic sauce
chipotle macaroni and cheese
steamed artichokes with green goddess dressing

raw meat + cooking = crispy hens!

first up were the cornish hens. at the strip we found these big guys for $4 each. a bargain, i'd say. this recipe couldn't be easier and little tiny birds are a good way to start roasting if you haven't done it before. plus, these only take about 30 you don't have to plan a fancy day of cooking if you don't have the time for that.

cornish hens with strawberry-balsamic sauce
2 cornish game hens
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 c strawberry jam
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp white wine
1/8 tsp pepper
salt to taste
1 dried thai chile

1. rinse and dry hens, rub with olive oil and salt & pepper inside and out
2. tie legs together and place breast side up in a roasting pan
3. roast at 425F until thigh temp is 165, about 30 minutes
4. while hens roast, combine jam, vinegar, wine, pepper, and salt over medium heat
5. once jam melts, add chile and let steep for 5 minutes (for added spice, cut chile in half)
6. serve sauce over roasted hens

mac with a kick

then things got a little crazy. when it came time to make the chipotle mac, i didn't measure. i eye balled and didn't taste in between. holy spicy with a side of flames, this macaroni and cheese is not for children. it wasn't for me, either. i would have loved it had the mere smell of it not caused me to tear up. one bite and my lips were puffy (not in an attractive, sultry way, but in a red, swollen, brazilian-plastic-surgery-without-a-license way). husband did like it, and while he admitted it was hot, he managed to eat the entire pan (not in one sitting!) paired with other foods and more cheese. go ahead and give this a try, but add cautiously...maybe taste test along the way...

chipotle mac
8 oz penne pasta
1 tbsp adobo sauce (from a can chipotle peppers in adobo)
1 8oz carton creme fraiche
salt and pepper
1/2 c grated parmesan

1. cook pasta according to directions until al dente
2. stir adobo sauce into creme fraiche
3. drain noodles and add to small casserole dish
4. season with salt and pepper and stir in creme fraiche mixture until evenly coated
5. top with parmesan cheese
6. place under broiler until golden brown, 2-3 minutes

yum! artichokes not canned, not marinated

this was another 'step outside the box' food for me. while i eat artichoke hearts by the costco jar (true), my only experience with whole artichokes was one time in college. also important to note, that's probably the only story i have that includes, yeah i tried that one time in college. unless you count the time i went to an insane riot (much larger and more dangerous than our recent superbowl one, let me assure you) and was shot at with tear gas and rubber bullets. let me be clear, i was not rioting and i do not support riots...but that was a once-in-a-lifetime, college type thing that i couldn't pass up. anyway, back to college artichokes. husband and i boiled them and ate the leaves dipped in melted butter. it was meh, so i hadn't made them again until now.

steamed artichoke leaves with green goddess dressing
2 artichokes
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 tbsp champagne vinegar
1/3 c mayo
3 tbsp buttermilk
zest of half a lemon
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
1/2 tbsp chives
1 tsp minced parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1. trim off the artichoke stems so they sit flat, then snap off the tough outer leaves at the base
2. trim off the top third with a sharp knife (i also trimmed the sharp leaf tips)
3. wash well, spreading leaves, then turn upside down and shake
4. place in a large, microwave-safe bowl over an inch of water
5. microwave, covered for 6-8 minutes then let sit for 10 minutes
6. test a leaf for softness, microwave a few more minutes if it remains tough
7. while artichokes steam, prepare dressing - combine all ingredients and chill
8. to enjoy, pull off leaf by leaf and dip into dressing

this dinner, while partly too hot, was super good. i would do it all again (minus about 3/4 the amount of adobo sauce). plus, this was the very first time ever that husband and i have used our china we got as wedding gifts. not because i don't like it, because i do. i love it so much but i have no serving dishes so i've never used it while dining with friends. i think i'll need to bring it out more often. maybe for tea, too, since the cups and saucers are adorable. but i have no tea pot for it! and since i am crazy, i'lll have to wait until i have the whole set to have parties with my china.

next up...dessert!


Thomas said...

That artichoke looks so pretty, like a rose. Loves it. I'm shocked, except not really, that you didn't like your experimental college days artichoke (as soon as I read that sentence, I thought it sounded very "bisexual for second semester of sophomore year" so I'm glad you clarified your statement). We used to eat that as a special treat at home, melted butter and yumalicious artichoke. I NEVER ate the hearts until college though. Strange.

Also: I want a tea party!
Also also: the word recognition thing is ALMOST Syracuse. Loves it.