Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bon Appetit!

Gregg doesn't like to go out for dinner on Valentine's Day - he thinks it's too crowded, and I tend to agree with him. Because of this, we went out for dinner on Friday night. We split a bottle of wine, took our time, talked, toasted the publication of my book, and toasted our relationship.
Gregg at dinner on Friday night
When we go out on a date, before we take our first sip of whatever beverage we have, Gregg nearly always raises a glass, looks into my eyes, and says, "To us." It has happened so many times that it seems "normal"...but to me, it is a very special kind of blessing, or prayer, that he is saying. It never gets old.

Because Gregg didn't want to go out on Valentine's Day, and has been so busy at work (working through lunch and putting in overtime), I decided to make a new dish last night, so that we could eat at home and still feel the special quality of the day. I prepared it, put it in the oven, and we went out for a brisk walk in the fading light. The sky was blue, the clouds were tinged with pink from the setting sun, and the pink light was reflected on the surface of the water.

I am not a great cook, but I do like to create things. Improvisation in the kitchen is always risky, but it is also a necessity, for me, because I rarely find a recipe that includes just what I have in mind - or what I have in the larder. Improvising is great fun, but it can go awry - and it has in my kitchen, in the past. However, it went well yesterday.

I made seafood quiche in a puff-pastry crust. Gregg made a salad, and we each had a glass of wine with our dinner. We gave each other Valentine cards, and spent the evening together. It was lovely. No great expense, no flashy business, no huge expectations, no disappointments. Just two people who are still grateful and happy to have found one another in this big world, enjoying each other's company. It was just right for us.

I can't give you an exact recipe for the quiche, because I took three recipes and made it up from there, but if you like to improvise, here are the links which I consulted, before merging aspects of them together:

I had some fondue cheese, grated (emmenthal and gruyere) and a bit of cream cheese, so I used that. They added just the right flavor. Here is my best estimate of what I did:

Crab & Cod Quiche
One sheet of puff pastry dough, thawed
Four eggs
1 cup of shredded cheese
1/2 cup of cream cheese (approx.)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. crushed garlic
Trader Joe's fresh mixed chopped veggies (or your own blend)
Fresh peas (out of the shell)
1 cup arugula
salt, pepper, paprika and dry mustard to taste
1/2 cup crab meat, cooked
1 cup cod, cooked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lay the puff pastry dough in a lightly-greased pie pan.
Put 2 Tbsp. of butter in a saute pan and melt with garlic. When it bubbles, add the vegetables and saute for 3 minutes, until they are just softened. Add the arugula until wilted (another minute or two). Take off the burner and allow to cool.
Scramble the eggs in a medium-sized bowl; add the dry seasonings.
Add the shredded cheese and blend well. Add the cream cheese and blend.
Add the seafood.
Add the sauteed veggies. Blend gently and thoroughly together.
Pour the mixture into the puff pastry.
Bake at 400 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes (check to be sure crust does not burn).
Remove and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this. We ate half of it last night! The puff pastry gives it a lighter finish than a pie crust would, and I appreciated that. If you are not a seafood-lover, you could subsititute your favorite meat or vegetables. As Julia would say, "Bon Appetit!"


Elizabeth said...

That sounds like the perfect evening and your recipe sounds delicious! I recommend this very cool website called gojee -- you can improvise with ingredients on hand or put in your cravings, etc. and it comes up with selections. It's wonderful -- even has a cocktail site!

Ellen said...

We too do not go out on Valentine's Day. We stayed home and ended up rescuing two large Labs that wondered on our property. Thankfully we were able to reunite dogs with the owner.

Your evening sounded lovely and when you said you had combined three recipes I laughed. I often am juggling ingredients with a dish because I don't like some part of one and think it would be even better with another part of a recipe.

ChiTown Girl said...

The recipe sounds delicious!!

Glad you two had such a lovely evening, celebrating you!

Busy Bee Suz said...

This does sound really really good!!!!
I love that Gregg makes a 'special' toast for your meals....he is a keeper!
We don't usually go out for VD either....I made a shrimp/mushroom concoction. What did we do to make VD special though? we ate in the family room at the coffee table instead of at the kitchen table! Yep, we are wild and crazy like that.

Karla said...

Sounds like a good day and a yummy dinner.