For those of you wishing to avoid the crowds of people rushing out for their prix fixe this Valentine’s Day, plan an intimate dinner at home. You can spend the money you save on a day-after couples’ massage.
Normally, I would give tons of advice about how to get the pasta from the kitchen to the table in less than a minute or how to time your courses, but I won’t. The whole point of eating in for Valentine’s Day is that you can eat at 5:30 or 10:30, or you could never get past the cocktails and leek and chard tarts. Chocolate ganache can be better for breakfast anyway.
Well, perhaps a few pieces of advice are in order. If you want to eat this savory tart (jump to see the photo) as badly as I do, you need to remember one crucial point: the puff pastry must be defrosted in the fridge the day before you bake the tart. You really don’t want to see how ugly a last-minute defrost of puff pastry can be in the microwave. And, really, I w0uld be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you that you really must have your butter and asparagus shavings ready the moment you pull your pasta from the boiling water. Fun can be structured. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
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I’m not a New Year’s resolution kind of gal. And you won’t be seeing me sign up for a juice cleanse anytime soon. Mother Nature gave me her own version of the juice cleanse over the holidays that left me with my head in the toilet for four days. By the time January 1 came around, I was ready to give up my Gatorade and chicken broth diet for real food.
I was all too excited to cook the recipes I had earmarked over the break in Burma, Naomi Duguid’s hot new cookbook that so many people have been praising. As a self-proclaimed adventurous eater, I take pride in the fact that I prefer ‘authentic’ cuisine over the watered-down American fusion version and can handle a serious amount of spicy heat. I have built up my sense of pride only to show you how far the mighty fell last week. I did make a multi-course meal’s worth of recipes from Burma, in the hopes of sharing a Burmese dinner party idea with you. A few bites in, I threw it all away. The flavors were way too much for me. This is not Duguid’s fault — I’m convinced I was just not strong enough for it.4 Comments »
As I described in an earlier post, my Thanksgiving menu is set indefinitely in my eyes. Christmas, on the other hand, is not. The first word that comes to mind is celebration, then slightly fancy. It’s difficult to make a potluck of 20 sides appear elegant, so I always leave that for Thanksgiving. As I set out to plan this year’s Christmas dinner, I planned around some of the first things that pop up when I think of a celebratory dinner: champagne, multiple courses, and a special dessert. Game on.3 Comments »