Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the pleasure factory

Labor Day means the first day off that Ry & I have had together since June. A reason for celebration, we enjoy a day of decadence...doing whatever (and only!) what our hearts desire. Of course, food is one of our favorite pleasures. The evening consisted of tapas style food: little bites of things intermingled with laughs, wine, and boardgames.

Course #1: Figs with bleu cheese wrapped in prosciutto, baked at 400F until the cheese is melty, and the prosciutto is browned.

Course #2:
A perfect example of letting the ingredients inspire! Ryan brought home the most beautiful HUGE heirloom tomatoes from the San Clemente farmer's market. "We have to do something to show how ridiculously large they are!", my first response. The result, a tomato tower: layers of Heirloom tomatoes, goat cheese, crispy fried onion straws, layers of spinach & arugula, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar and meyer lemon olive oil.

Course #3:
An adaptation of something I make everyday at work: Mussels with bacon & pesto. Bacon, rendering fat, deglaze pan with white wine. Add pesto & cream to steam mussels. Serve with crusty french bread...dipping the bread into the sauce is almost better than the mussels themselves!

An affirmation that I am pursuing my true passion, I am happy to cook all day on my only day off. Well, almost all day :)

Follow your bliss

Time off is a chance to get back to what I love. Cooking just for the joy of it, making whatever tickles my fancy. My loved ones are the best audience...not there to judge, just to enjoy and say "thank you."

Our first family dinner was the coming out party for our new home! Music & laughter echoing, delicious smells wafting from the windows, it truly felt like our home. Unable to accommodate 7 people at our dinner table (2 seater now), we decided to have a picnic in our cute little yard. The food was inspired by the setting.

The menu:
Fresh fruit from the farmer's market: melon, strawberries, blackberries (something to snack on as soon as you get there, KEY!)
Fried green tomato BLT's (I love BLT's, and LOVE to make them gourmet style!), each wrapped in parchment paper, like a little present you cant wait to unwrap!
Pineapple Cole Slaw (using an adaptation to my work recipe, using creme fraiche instead of mayo)
Mango Sage Honey Panna Cotta & farmer's market berries (so easy, and delicious!)
This was the kind of evening where no photos were snapped of the food before diving in. Living in the moment, just eat. No need to wait.