Hellooooooooooooo! How are you? I always ask that at the beginning of my posts, and y’all never answer. ;) This weekend has been a lot of fun so far. Friday night we cooked a thank-you dinner for my Mom and her husband to show how much we appreciated them caring for the kids for an entire week while we were off
getting drunk vacationing in Washington. We set out some smoked gouda, assorted crackers, mixed olives, and roasted peanuts for everyone to snack on while we cooked, and of course there was more red wine involved. (You may have noticed that our wine consumption has remained quite high since school ended. I start summer classes a week from Monday, and I’m going to enjoy this last week of time off, dammit!) For dinner we made Portobello Medallions au Poivre, B marinated and grilled a couple of steaks, my favorite cheddar cheese risotto was the side dish, and we also pulled together a salad of mixed greens, red onion, avocado, and a few choices of dressing (blue cheese, ranch, or balsamic vinaigrette- I rolled with blue cheese on mine). I strongly urge you to go make the sauce from the Portobello Medallions recipe- it would be incredible on steak or chicken, spooned over baby yellow potatoes, or scooped up with a good, crusty roll. It is ADDICTING.
B’s steaks, pre-grill. (He marinated them in his secret family recipe sauce. TOP SECRET!)
The men ate the steaks, and my mom (who is a vegetarian) and I enjoyed the ‘shroom medallions. I’ve made this recipe once before, and it is extremely easy to prepare but really, really tasty.
Portobello Medallions au Poivre by Rachael Ray
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Salt and pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 large portobello mushroom caps (about 2 pounds total), stemmed and gills scraped out (I couldn’t find whole caps at the store, so I got pre-sliced portobello strips, which worked fine)
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup cognac or brandy (I used cooking sherry, which turned out to be really good in the sauce! If you have cognac or brandy on hand, use it. Otherwise save yourself some cash and use cooking sherry- just taste before adding additional salt to the sauce, since cooking wines often contain extra salt.)
- 1 tablespoon brine-packed green peppercorns, drained (I used these the last time I made this recipe but couldn’t find them at the store this week, and the sauce was just as good without them.)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the flour and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. In an extra-large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Rinse half of the mushrooms quickly and shake in the bag of seasoned flour, then add to the pan and cook, turning once or twice, until golden, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Add the scallions to the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Carefully pour in the cognac, simmer until nearly evaporated, then stir in the peppercorns, bouillon base and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the cream and mustard.
Return the mushrooms to the pan and simmer, turning the mushrooms occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the mushrooms to serving plates and continue to simmer the sauce until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the mushrooms.
Oooooh yeah. Nice and thick! This sauce is so good, I could have just grabbed a spoon and had that for dinner by itself. It has a nice, rich flavor to it and I love the addition of the cooking sherry- it is the perfect cream sauce. I had a heaping serving of the mushrooms smothered in it…
I think that this would be an excellent dish to serve to someone that thinks meat always has to be involved at dinner. It is rich, meaty, hearty, flavorful and filling comfort food and 100% vegetarian. :D
The risotto rocked as usual…
Risotto is also an easy yet impressive dish to prepare. It takes a bit of babysitting (just lots of stirring so the rice doesn’t stick and occasionally adding hot broth in small quantities as it is absorbed), but it magically transforms from boring old rice into creamy, ridiculously rich, elegant side dish in less than 30 minutes. The addition of shredded sharp cheddar cheese stirred in just before serving makes this one of my favorite comfort foods of all time.
And then there was the salad…
Glorious. This meal was not a very balanced one, but it sure was delicious. :) My mom and her husband loved it, too. I had a bite of B’s steak and he dominated the grill as usual.
Yesterday was me and B’s 1-year anniversary. Actually, it was the 1-year anniversary of our very first date. :D Because B is the most amazing man on the planet, he made reservations at the same restaurant we went to on our first date, Café Malaga (it is now one of our favorite restaurants of all time!). He managed to get us the exact same table that we sat at a year ago. It was incredibly sweet. *swoon*
Café Malaga is located in an old restored house in the historic downtown square of McKinney. It is really pretty, and it’s always packed when we go there. They have a beautiful outdoor patio and live music on the weekends. Everyone was having a good ol’ time:
We sat inside at our little table of love for 2. ;)
B started with their house-made sangria (he LOVES it!)…
And I went with a glass of Malbec…
Then it was the fun part- time to order! I love dining tapas-style, where you get to taste everything. It’s great for sharing, is kind of romantic, and allows you to try just a bite or two of many different amazing dishes. I personally think ordering tapas is a great way to eat intuitively and mindfully, since getting only a couple bites of each item makes you pay attention to how the food looks, smells, and tastes. It makes you want to really savor your food. Plus, you eat more slowly, which gives you the opportunity to stop before you get too full. If we lived closer to Cafe Malaga we would probably eat there every week- the food and atmosphere are awesome. Check out the menu!
We ordered six different things:
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, which came with a delightful balsamic and chive oil.
The Malaga Croquettes, which are little nuggets made with bacon, chicken and chorizo wrapped in a soft béchamel and panko bread crumbs. SO DAMN GOOD. They came with two different creamy sauces for dipping…
Next, we got the cheese fondue, which was a blend of manchego, brie, English cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese…
And it came with FRIED PITA for dipping, which is now one of my favorite things in the whole world.
B especially liked the fondue…
We also got something called Don Piquillo- red piquillo peppers stuffed with a slow-cooked beef bolognaise and served in a creamy manchego sauce.
As you may have guessed, it was amazing. Seriously, seriously good.
We had to get an order of the bacon-wrapped dates, because we got them last time and had been fantasizing about them ever since (in the most creepy way possible, of course):
We finished the meal with the chilled Tiger Shrimp Gomera, which was a plump, fresh shrimp atop avocado mole and a spicy Spanish relish…
Ridiculous. (In a good way!) :)
It was an amazing meal! A great way to celebrate our first year together, for sure. After dinner B took me to The Wine Therapist, where an awesome wine-fanatic friend of his works. We sampled different reds, probably laughed a little too loudly, took blurry pictures and nibbled on crackers and a wedge of manchego cheese.
It was a good time. :D
This morning I rocked some yoga and it felt incredible. A good power yoga workout does wonders to relieve stress and tension for me, and doing it once each week really keeps me flexible! I can’t imagine life without yoga. Tonight we’re having game night here with my sis, her man, and B’s brother and his fiancé. I’m ridiculously excited, because I loooooooooove games. I put together a game-friendly menu of snacks: guacamole with tortilla chips, hummus and pita chips, Fritos to go with B’s famous homemade Onion Dip (ok, it’s really Alton Brown’s recipe- and it’s INSANELY good! We’ve had onion haters rave about this dip!), four kinds of cheese (herbed goat cheese, manchego, smoked gouda, and dill havarti), an assortment of crackers, I whipped up some spiced mixed nuts (this recipe ROCKS, especially if you like sweet and spicy), a veggie tray, and I made the Pioneer Woman’s Hot Artichoke Dip (which is sitting in the fridge as we speak, ready to be baked and devoured!). I think that’s a pretty killer spread and I’m hoping that everyone else enjoys it, too.
Hope your Sunday is a great one! Any big plans for Memorial Day tomorrow? We’re all going for an early dinner at my Gram’s house. :)