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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

love day

Sandi and I were going to go out to dinner for Valentine's Day but decided instead to have a cozy, quiet dinner at home by the fire. We planned out a menu, bought some specialty food and classy wine and had little to do but cook and relax for the afternoon and evening.

With Ella at school and Maya upstairs "resting" we managed to have lunch for two, even opening one of the bottles of wine.  This is relatively unheard of at our house (the lunch alone AND the wine in the middle of the day.)

And then we remembered that we have kids.

Too tipsy to be productive (kidding), we didn't get as much cooking as should have while the kids were occupied and then before we could blink school was over and the mayhem ensued.  There was more crying and fighting than was appropriate for love day (and at one point Maya smacked Sandi across the face getting out of the car and earned herself a spot in a nearby snowbank where she screamed her head off.) 

We did have some fun cutting hearts out of cookie dough all together and setting up some fancy food to eat in the living room at the kids' table (what Ella has termed a "feast") but bedtime was long and drawn out and by the time they were asleep we had a mere 90 minutes to make and enjoy our special dinner.  It was noticeable, in other words, that the kids were kind of cramping our style. 

On the menu: lentil pate with homemade pita chips, crackers with gourmet fruit paste and brie, freshly juiced carrot/beet juice, mini phyllo pastry packets with baby spinach, goat cheese and chicken (free range/organic- expense and heads above the grocery store chicken), carrot and orange soup and chocolate chip cheesecake (Sandi's specialty).

Sandi said, "Next year we need to pair it down.  We've taken on too much."  The idea was to have just a little of a lot of things but as it was we skipped two other menu selections.  We are neither realistic about time nor the size of our bellies.  The up side is we have a fridge full of delicious food to eat all week.  And a date for Thursday to try again for the quiet, cozy evening. without all the cooking.

The soup we selected (from "The Silver Palate Cookbook" by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins) was so unique and appetizing we couldn't stop saying, "Oh my goodness, this is SO yummy and unusual."

Carrot and Orange Soup

4 tablespoons sweet butter
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
12 large carrots (1 1/2 - 2 pounds) peeled and chopped
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
grated fresh orange zest to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pot.  Add the onions, cover and cook over low heat until tender and lightly browned, about 25 minutes.
2. Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
3.  Pour soup through a strainer and transfer solids to a food processor (or blender) fitted with a steel blade.  Add 1 cup of the cooking stock and process until smooth.
4.  Return puree to the pot and add the orange juice and additional stock, 2-3 cups, if needed to achieve desired consistency.
5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and orange zest.  Simmer until heated and serve.

Can I also tell you that for Valentine's Day Sandi gave me a bar of chocolate and a new book?  I mean, short of adding in new pair of running sneakers it was like the perfect gift. 

1 comment:

Angela said...

I am making that soup this weekend!!!!!

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