Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Datenight Dinner at Home

Sometimes, as much as you'd like to, it's just too much work to go out on a date with your spouse. You have to find a babysitter. Wash your hair. Apply makeup. Drive somewhere. I know, it's just exhausting.

Seriously though, before kids my husband and I used to cook together every Friday night after a long week at work, rent a movie and stay in. So when shiitake mushrooms came in The Produce Box this week, ribeyes went on sale at Harris Teeter, and my husband got a craving for stuffed figs all at the same time we decided to resurrect an old tradition. We fed the kids pasta, put on a movie for them and met in the kitchen.

Now my husband swears he can't cook but look at these Baked Stuffed Figs with Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, Rosemary and Honey before they went into the oven. He bought all the ingredients from our local Harris Teeter (minus the rosemary which came from our garden) and found the recipe at the TasteFood blog.
Meanwhile, I was in charge of grilling the ribeyes and getting the mushrooms tipsy. Don't worry, they didn't complain although the ribeyes did sizzle. In my humble opinion ribeyes need very little prep other than a dry massage with course sea salt and ground pepper and the kiss of a high-heat grill just long enough to keep them from mooing. Mushrooms, however, need more persuasion.

Take three tablespoons of butter and and melt it in a pan with a few cloves of minced garlic and a little olive oil. Warm the garlic until your house smells like you've died and gone to Italian heaven.
Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, ten minutes. Add in the wine. In this case I had a half pound of mushrooms and used 1/2 cup of wine. Simmer in the wine sauce for another five to ten minutes.
The wine and butter sauce will thicken and reduce and soak into the mushrooms until it looks more like this when it's finished.
 Spoon the mushrooms over the ribeyes, saving the larger portion for your spouse. Now, that's love.
The steak and mushrooms in red wine sauce were a nice contrast to the baked stuffed figs, which turned out jammy and lush and perfectly infused with rosemary flavor. What's sexier than cooking and then eating a meal together, except a glass of wine and a bar of dark chocolate for dessert while your husband does dishes?

Now for the less romantic details. The ribeye was on sale for $6 and I butterflied it to make two steaks. The mushrooms were $5.50. The figs ran $.79 each and the goat cheese cost $5.99. Add in a $10 bottle of wine and you get a sumptuous dinner for two for around $30. And we didn't even have to pay a babysitter or argue over how much to tip the server.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Feeding Four featured on Strictly Homemade blog today

My good friend Maridith featured some of my recipes on her fabulous blog Strictly Homemade today. Check it out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tangy Fall Apple Salad

Mom used to make this salad growing up. It's a great way to take advantage of the gorgeous fall apples out right now. Serve as is or toss with chopped iceberg lettuce or baby spinach. Add in baby marshmallows or substitute dried cranberries or yellow raisins for the regular raisins. Dad says my great grandmother used to add chopped bananas. For more color, leave some of the skin on the apples.

Tangy Fall Apple Salad
3 large apples (mix of crisp/sour and sweet like Granny Smith and Concord), cored, peeled and chopped
4 small boxes raisins
1/4 chopped pecans
1 celery stalk, chopped small
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
3 Tb sugar (adjust according to your apples and taste)
pinch fresh ground black pepper
Optional: baby marshmallows and iceberg lettuce or baby spinach

1.) Toss apples, raisins, pecans and celery in a medium bowl.
2.) Whisk mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and pepper in a small bowl.
3.) Pour dressing over apple mix and toss well to combine.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Score FREE spices and teacher gift at Penzey's Spices--$14+ value

Stop in at your Penzeys Spices store right now and get a free 1/2 cup jar of Forward spices, normally $5.39. Use it to add flavor to meat, veggies, rice or pasta. No purchase necessary. There's a coupon in this month's catalog to get the Forward free but I couldn't find mine. The folks that work at Penzey's are usually very helpful and friendly, so ask and you might receive. I did! Or if you're shopping online use the coupon code 15958C at checkout.

You can also score a FREE teacher's gift set with any purchase, normally valued at $8.78. If you don't have a Penzeys in your area you can also score this deal with any online purchase using the coupon code 83018c at checkout. Of course you'll have to pay S&H, $3.95 for a minimum order. You can use both coupons at checkout online with a minimum purchase. (Order an empty glass spice jar for as little as $1.39.)

Thanks to retailmenot.com and hip2save.com for the coupon codes.
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