I’m kind of in a hurry to clean my room for the cleaning lady tomorrow (oh come on, we all know that chestnut) SO, I’ll try to make this as brief as possible–with little heart-felt yammerings.
Yammerings: This week I started my new job as a nanny, and it was a little rough, but mostly pretty great. The paycheck was nice too. Still looking to fill five more hours of childcare and/or personal assistant work on Thursdays…so please feel free to hit me up (I know, not so heartfelt). I had a wonderful girl’s lunch with Gabs and Em on Thursday and it was exactlt what all of us needed. Two whole hours of laughter. And yesterday, I saw A Christmas Carol and Paul was my date for the evening. He even accompanied me for late night tacos. Thanks, bud. A little bit each day, I feel like I’m a little less on the crazy train. A little bit. Please note that as I say this, I have six GIANT sheets of blank paper strewn about my room that I have to turn into backdrops for the Christmas pageant. There’s a million canvases and articles of clothing thrown around and between me and the computer screen I have: a toiletry bag, a Victoria’s Secret perfume box, a journal, Nine Kinds of Naked, two pill bottles (left over from the pneumonia), an inhaler, sheet music, a notebook, an old mp3 player, insurance papers, a necklace, a hair clip, Pier 1 reed diffuser fragrance, and about $8.50 in change (dimes and pennies). So. A while still on the crazy train.
BUT. On Friday night, I decided that I would make CDR a fancy date-night dinner. I decided that the menu would be grilled salmon, orzo-stuffed tomatoes, and a kale, spinach, and red pepper saute. All in all, pretty fantabulous. We paired it with a delightful pinot grigio (but keep in mind that with salmon, you could really go either way–white or red) and enjoyed ourselves on a makeshift indoor picnic blanket.
To make these dreamy little balls of heaven (pretend I came up with something better to say), you simply hollow out tomatoes and sprinkle them with a little S&P. Reserve the liquid from the tomatoes, because you can use it to cook the orzo (or rice, or cous cous, or whatever). In a small saucepan, toast two tabelspoons of butter, 1 sliced shallot, and 1 clove of garlic. When the butter has melted, add 1 1/2 cups of orzo and lightly toast. Pour in the tomato liquid and chicken stock and cook orzo until done (about 8 min). Make a breadcrumb topping by combining breadcrumbs and a variety of herbs (I used parsley, basil, and rosemary) with salt, pepper, and olive oil (HINT: also add some parm. I was out of cheese, so I couldn’t do that part). When the orzo is done, stir in half of the breadcrumb mixture and fill the tomatoes (you’ll have orzo left over for later). Sprinkle the tops of the ‘maters with the rest of the bread crumb mixture, drizzle with a little bit more olive oil, and throw them under a low broiler for a few minutes. Delish, is really all that I can say.
For the kale and spinach mixture, first chop a shallot and a clove of garlic and bring it to temperature with a bit of olive oil and butter (1 1/2 TBL total). Also, if you’d like (and I liked) add 1/2 tsp of red chili flake. Then add 1 sliced red bell pepper at saute 2 min. Add one bunch of kale and one bunch of spinach (this stuff wilts down to almost nothing, so if you’re cooking for more than 2, be sure account for that), and saute until it wilts, but still has a bit of a bite to it. Sprinkle in a dash of nutmeg, too. It brings out the flavor of greens.Now, for this salmon–I went a little outside my fish comfort zone. Usually, I just like to drizzle with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper it and be done with it, because I like to keep the fish as pure and as simple as possible. BUT, I thought, what the hell? Make it herbacious, right? So, about ten minutes before I threw it on the grill, I slathered it with some honey mustard, basil, parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, and a little bit of lemon juice. Slathered may not be the right word…because I definitely just lightly coated it. Threw it on the grill 4 min a side (I took it a little far. 3 min a side would have been better) The flavor was unbelievable and the skin was crispy.
Now, with Friday night’s successful dinner, I thought I’d make fancy Christmas cookies on Saturday morning. They really aren’t that fancy. They’re sugar cookies with some chopped rosemary. Couldn’t be easier. Everyone has their own favorite sugar cookie recipe, so just use that and add about 1 tablespoon of chopped FRESH rosemary, and it gives your cookies a wonderful pine, Christmas flavor.
So maybe this year we give Santa a little sophistication and leave him some nice rosemary-sugar cookies. They’re delectable, and quite perfect for those of us that want to feel a little grown-up this Christmas.
Ciao, guys. I have a room to clean.