Monday, November 2, 2009
Thanks to Dave, this has been an AMAZING birthday weekend!
My actual 43rd birthday, for those of you who don't know, is today. But we celebrated yesterday with a meal that lasted pretty much all afternoon and evening -- a marathon of cooking and eating from about 2 p.m. until 9 p.m. Dave carefully planned the menu -- he's been talking about it for weeks -- and we went to Wegman's around noon to buy ingredients. We alternately prepared and ate each dish, interspersed with some TV and music.
First we had the salad above: shaved fennel and grapefruit with dill and walnuts, in a citrus dressing. It was crisp, cool and pleasantly acidic. (By the way, you can click on any of these photos for a much bigger, more detailed version.)
Then came the second course, a savory creme brulee with Roquefort cheese and leeks. The leeks stood out really well against the taste of the blue cheese.
Third came garlic-stuffed squid hoods in a white wine and vegetable reduction. We stuffed peeled garlic cloves in the squid and sewed them shut with butcher's twine, and simmered them in the sauce. The sweet cooked garlic and the briny squid set each other off well.
The main course was lavender-rubbed duck breast, and quinoa with asparagus and tomato. (We were going to use a grain called faro but couldn't find any at the store.) The duck was rich and tender, and the lavender gave it a pleasantly interesting aroma.
Finally, for dessert, we had Grand Marnier souffle. Look how tall and fluffy that thing is!
This was definitely a landmark meal for me. Dave said he liked the salad and the souffle best, but I loved it all. And to top it all off, Dave got me a NEW CAMERA for my birthday -- a Canon Digital Rebel SLR. I was absolutely floored. This is a camera I desperately wanted but couldn't bring myself to buy! How did he know?
(I have the best boyfriend in the world. In fact, "boyfriend" is a totally inadequate word for what Dave means to me. We call each other partners, and that's what it really feels like. So, yeah, I have the best partner in the world!)
This all followed a fun but busy weekend. On Friday we watched "Top Chef" and "Project Runway," both of which I love. Dave had rehearsal on Saturday so I just stayed in and did some stuff around the house and on my computer. Then, on Halloween night, we met up with our friend Adam in New Hope, Pa., to see "The Rocky Horror Show" at a playhouse there. It was a great production -- especially for those of us who know how to Time Warp!