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Here’s to two wonderful years, and many, many more.

unicorn_anniversary

image via Sea Studio

I was home today for President’s Day mostly lounging, cooking, doing a teeny bit of exercise and a little perusing of the internets. Lately has been wonderful and busy, but it’s nice to take a few  moments to slow down and look back on the past weeks.

lately

dinner at barrio with the whole gang / a few new friends in town from chicago at saint john’s /
the famous beer junction in west seattle / great eats and more great beers at feierabend

images via instagram

I love a simple dinner that tastes rich and luxurious. Ever since I bookmarked the kitchn‘s list of great date night meals, it’s been one of my favorite go-to lists for those nights when I want to feel like I’m spoiling us a bit, without going overboard. I love this open faced ravioli recipe. The egg makes a rich sauce for the greens and the lemon really brightens the dish and balances the flavor. Also, this is the recipe that taught me how to poach eggs without ruining them, or turning them into egg soup. I feel like patting myself on the back every time I poach one successfully.

Open-Faced Ravioli with Poached Egg, Wilted Greens and Brown Butter-Lemon Sauce
via the kitchn

2 lasagna noodles
2-4 eggs, depending on how hungry you feel and what else is being served
1 bunch (about 10 ounces) swiss chard, washed, stems removed, and sliced into ribbons
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper

Fill a mixing bowl with hot tap water and set it next to the stove.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a tablespoon or two of salt and the lasagna noodles. Cook about 8 minutes, until the noodles are al dente. Remove the noodles with a strainer or slotted spoon and transfer them to the bowl of water.
Drain half the water from the pot, leaving about four inches in the bottom. Let it come back to a simmer. Crack the eggs into individual measuring cups and slip them into the simmering water. Poach the eggs for 4 minutes for runny yolks or 5 minutes for yolks that are barely set. Transfer them to the bowl of warm water with the lasagna noodles until ready to plate your dishes.
While the noodles and eggs are cooking, you can begin wilting the greens. Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the greens and a three-fingered pinch of salt, and saute until the chard wilts, turns bright green, and becomes tender to taste, about three minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the chard to a separate plate.
With the skillet back over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook it, swirling the butter occasionally in the pan, until the butter darkens and begins to smell nutty. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The lemon juice will make the butter sizzle up and sputter before cooling down.
To Plate the Ravioli: Remove the lasagna noodles from the water and pat them dry. Slice them into squares and layer half of them in the bottom of two pasta bowls. Remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and lay them on the noodles. Top with the remaining ravioli squares. Arrange the wilted chard around and over the plates, and drizzle everything with butter-lemon sauce. Serve immediately.

This past week I was in New York City for the first time in nearly ten years, and I’m feeling terribly romantic about the city again. Husband and I both had to be there for work, but we flew in a few days early to enjoy ourselves a little. And enjoy ourselves we did! Great eats, a great show, fabulous shopping and a whole lot of sunshine. We really lucked out – it was 70 and beautiful all weekend. The best thing? Newsies on Broadway. I’ve never been big on musicals, but the husband loves them, particularly Newsies. And a friend of his was in the show! We had amazing seats (Thank you Aaron!) The show was so much fun, and besides Aaron, there were three guys we recognized from So You Think You Can Dance. So much talent! And oy, the restaurants in NYC are unbelievable. So much good food. Here are a few pics from the weekend and a few places I’d highly recommend, which I found mostly based on recommendations from a few of my amazing friends.


Faves:
Carnegie Deli and their fantastic pickles
Soup Dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai
Rosa Mexicano makes fresh guacamole at the table
Everything at Philippe, particularly the duck (oh the duck!)
Steak Frites de L’Entrecôte (just like Paris!)
PJ Clarke’s has great parmesan tots and bread pudding
Great Italian and great service at Osteria al Doge
Yaffa Cafe and their famous carrot dressing
Zio – we did drinks and appetizers, but I’d love to go back for dinner

So much good food! I can’t wait to go back and try more!

This was our second weekend in a row in Portland, last weekend for a birthday and this one for a wedding. I always think of Seattle as such an amazing city for food, but Portland has really blown my mind these past few days. Peruvian tapas, the best biscuits & gravy in the country, maple bars with bacon and the most fantastic selection of food carts I’ve ever seen. And stellar service at every single place. I don’t know what they put in the water in Portland, but every person we encountered seemed to love their craft and love sharing it. Even at the hotel and shops. We’re putting it on our list of possible retirement locations – so much happy.


top: broccoli rabe scramble with fresh chevre at irving st kitchen
and a killer selection from voodoo doughnuts
bottom: breakfast nachos and the famous biscuits & gravy from mother’s bistro


top: our friends’ fabulous wedding at the Portland World Trade Center
bottom: Andina aftermath and the hilarious confetti on my reception plate


top: the library and bubbly at the urban farmer, drinks at the the top of the nines: departure
bottom: the best hangover cures at the original, more rooftop fun at departure

Two perfect weekends. We’ll be back, soon.

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but there have been quite a few lovely brunches, girls nights in, date nights in, and a fancy happy hour or two. Between that, and cooking regularly again, it feels like life is coming back full force. Now I just need the weather to start turning. Come on Spring!