February 20, 2006
Today being President’s Day, my company gave me the day off. The wife wasn’t so lucky. Knowing how jealous she is of me getting days off, and how much she’d hate to have to come home and make dinner for someone who spent the whole day goofing off and blogging, I made dinner for her.
Overall, it was a very easy list of things to buy, and very easy to make. My cooking acumen is largely limited to boiling ingredients to make beer, so if I can do it, you can too. For the guys out there looking to score points, I recommend it. It seemed to be a hit in my household anyway, so here’s what I did:
Picked up some mixed baby greens, and vine-ripened cherry tomatoes. Coupled with some of Paul Newman’s Light Balsamic Viniagrette, it was an excellent start.
Baked Salmon: I used two salmon filets, about .5 lb for my wife’s and .75 lb for mine. I lined a cookie sheet with tinfoil, taking care to build walls around the area where the filets would sit to hold ingredients. I spread some pesto bought from Costco on the bottom of those areas, and laid the filets on top. Using a knife, I sliced very small incisions into the top of the filets, and pressed capers into the holes. I placed some capers across the top, and added a small amount of crushed black pepper on top of that. Last, I placed two slices of lemon on top of each filet, poured some white wine (Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc) over the top, and covered the whole thing with another piece of foil. I placed this in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. For me, who likes sushi, I thought it was a tad overcooked. My wife, on the other hand, thought it was perfect. I’d recommend 20-25 minutes for portions that small, but obviously you should cook to your own preference.
Asparagus: Very simple. Bought a small bunch of thin asparagus stalks. Washed them and gave them about 8-10 minutes in boiling water, strained and put back into the pot with a couple pats of butter. Very good.
Light Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream served in coffee mugs, with some portions of a frozen Hershey’s Special Dark bar sticking out of it as garnish. Again, very simple.
I covered the table in a tablecloth with a candle, dimmed the lights, put on some music. There was some more of the wine available for her, and some very nice Ommegang Abbey Ale for myself. We normally use paper towels rather than actual napkins around the house, so twisting the paper towel into an almost-flower-like shape and placing it in an empty wine glass gave it that extra-special touch.
All told, the whole cost (including beer & wine), assuming you needed to buy every ingredient from scratch, was about $40. If you happen to have some of the ingredients– particularly things like the capers or salad dressing– around the house, it should cut the price a little more. But for barely an hour of work including prep, it’s an easy way to do something romantic. Some of the things I did, like the Special Dark garnish for the ice cream, or the paper towels in a wine glass, really aren’t very exquisite. But things like that are the perfect “guy” added touch. And the added effort goes a long way.
As does telling the wife where you’re planning on taking her for your anniversary, but that part is a whole different post
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