Are you hungry yet?!?
I love taking pictures of food. I also love having OTHER people take pictures of food. (Thanks, Ken and Michael!) The only bad thing about the process is that just when the food smells and looks great and is ready to be devoured, it’s instead whispering to the photographer in a sultry voice “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.” Ah, the sacrifices we make for our art and for you, dear readers.
The Cuisinart® ice cream maker was whirring away on the floor of the bedroom as we arranged our food as artfully as two novices could manage. We didn’t want the noise to interfere with the evening’s carefully constructed ambience.
The main course, grilled lobster, deserved to be on a plate by itself, with just a strawberry fan for garnish and luscious melted garlic butter for dipping.
Tender, juicy, exquisite — but not the only star of the evening. You know what they say about variety . . . bring it on!
Our colorful grilled peppers were dressed with goat cheese crumbles, ribbons of basil, and a simple dressing made with olive oil, fig-infused balsamic vinegar, and a little cracked black pepper. Our crostini provided a crunchy counterpoint.
Our caramelized carrots had been cooked low and slow in a bit of water sweetened with a product that is fabulous, but dismally named — Brown Sugar Diabetisweet. Just a pinch in the water, along with the lengthy simmering, produced sweet, tender bullets of betacarotene. Just FYI — we removed the stems and greenery before cooking, but reserved them for use as garnish. We were inordinately pleased with ourselves for thinking of such a thing.
Our salad practically put itself together. A locally-grown salad mix already had bits of edible flowers scattered throughout. (Just a word of advice here. If you’re going to put edible flowers in a salad, unless they are pansies or nasturtiums, it’s a good idea to break them into small pieces. There is something a bit disconcerting about having entire marigolds plopped in with the lettuce.) On the salad, we used Italian herbs, raspberry balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Angel hair pasta with basil pesto cream sauce was our final side dish of the night.
For those of you counting (especially those of you who may be bad at math), that means we’ve had eight different offerings thus far — mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, lobster, salad, grilled peppers, carrots, crostini, pasta.
We knew, however, that we dare not over-indulge. The faint whirring of the ice cream machine in the distance reminded us that frozen heaven was just around the corner.
Doesn’t it all look just lovely, but what’s with the lobster on the plate on the right? It looks like it’s trying to run home to mama. Sorry, my little ocean urchin. You aren’t going anywhere!
Of all the things Michele was looking forward to helping to create, homemade ice cream was perhaps at the top of the list. We elected to initiate her new Cuisinart® machine (another item we wagged home from Sur la Table) with pistachio ice cream. She had seen pictures of batches I had made previously, but heretofore could only imagine how it might taste. We started with the country vanilla ice cream recipe my cousin Steve and his wife Becky coughed up, added chopped pistachios and almond extract, plus just a touch of green food coloring because the mind associates that color with pistachio. The sounds Michele made as she experienced it for the first time, if recorded and played out of context, would truly make one wonder what she was up to! Enough said.
We were on our way to becoming culinary queens! Exhausted, yet exhilarated, we didn’t even mind the kitchen cleanup.