It's probably why I continue to use the white Johnson Brothers china my father gave
to me at age 18... it is a nice blank canvas for whatever goes on top; usually something
colorful. My first high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Sisk, always extolled the
virtues of a colorful meal. I think of her when I sit down to a happy-palette-plate!
I try to treat our evening meal as an event... like a date. More often than not,
dinners at home are more special to us than those dining out. If the weather is
accommodating, we are eating on our 16th floor balcony admiring the Charlotte skyline
and how the colors differ from one day to the next (I am particularly fond of the photo
below that looks like a fish is swimming between Fifth Third Bank and the Hearst Tower).
Lamb Chops, Blackberry Compote, & Couscous Salad
The compote was a farmer's market find. For a
couscous salad, make the couscous and toss with
fresh vegetables, herbs, and a little olive oil.
Roccoco. After that night, we rarely missed a Friday dinner there for as long as we lived in MD. We always
ate at the bar and always left feeling as though we'd been treated specially. It is no longer operating, but
we still miss it and talk about it often. My menu favorite was a Sesame Seared Tuna with Asian Slaw.
We don't go too long without making it at home and also do a similar meal with grilled salmon.
I've never had salmon anywhere cooked as perfectly as Greg does it on the grill.
Anniversary Dinner, July 4, 2013
Sautéed Duck Breast &
Anniversary Dinner, July 4, 2016
Coriander Rubbed Scallops with
Rice Noodles & Citrus-Ginger Dressing
piece of pottery as our gift to each other. This year's dish was made by Mudslide Pottery and we bought it
from them at an arts festival that I was also participating in. When I asked Greg what he would like to
have for our anniversary dinner, he said he wanted something served in the dish... what a perfect idea!!
Spicy Thai Salad; I had it most every night! I served it at my recent hosting of wine
group in our anniversary dish. I vary the ingredients a bit, but they are always fresh and
include shrimp or shredded chicken (sometimes both, and sometimes neither), rice noodles,
chopped cucumber, julienned carrots and red pepper, fresh mint, Thai basil, cilantro, chives,
grape tomatoes, chopped peanuts, and some greens (arugula, Napa cabbage, or broccoli
slaw). The dressing includes canola oil, fish sauce, lime juice, and red pepper flakes.
have, otherwise, seen. In Vietnam, summer rolls were a favorite, so I quickly figured out how to
make them. They are a summer standard... so delicious! Fresh ingredients... shrimp, rice noodles,
Thai basil, mint, and shredded carrots and cucumbers are absolutely necessary!! There's a
learning curve when using rice papers for the first time; easy-peasy tips included in the recipe!
It cooks up quickly once you prepare the ingredients.
it's a winner and it's one of those things Greg requests when it's been too long.
We usually do it with chicken, but we used shrimp for the latest one and it was very good.
potstickers in Shanghai; when we returned to the US, I worked like crazy to figure out a close facsimile. They
are simply wonderful. They take some time, so when I make them, I do two large batches and freeze them.
Don't skimp on the ingredients. It needs the tamarind, radish, fish sauce, dried shrimp powder, tofu, fresh
shrimp, bean sprouts, etc., to be authentic. If you order it out, don't assume it is authentic if you have never
had REAL Pad Thai. Some restaurants serve an Americanized version. Look for a tiny-hole-in-the-wall
Thai restaurant and order it there for a better chance at experiencing the real thing.
My Pad Thai recipe is a modification of one from the Williams-Sonoma Savoring East Asia recipe
book by Joyce Jue. Even if you never cook a thing from it, the book is worth the photographs alone!!
also play a big part in our date. Artwork and furniture collected from our travels make
it a space to remember all the funny stories that motivated their acquisition.
the Lam Lee light (next photo) I found online would be perfect, but it was no longer available.
When we replaced the living area light fixture (3rd photo) with a ceiling fan, I had an idea to use its
frame with the red parasol I had received as a birthday gift from a friend while living in Shanghai.
$7.00 bamboo runner lengthwise to fit between the frame and the parasol. I threaded
beads onto a pretty tassel from Shanghai and attached it to the repainted parasol tip. The
light shines through it nicely at night and makes a pretty reflection in the glass table top.
Pacific Rim Chicken Pot
is a perfect cold weather or
feeling sick meal. It is very
comforting and so good!
Lime wedges, cilantro, diced
Thai chili pepper, scallions,
and fish sauce are served
on the side to sprinkle on top.
If you don't like scallions, fresh
chives are a good choice.
That's when I began working on replicating their chicken crepes and spinach crepes,
using the Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes as a starting point. The cookbook was
an early post-college purchase after moving into my first place. It's been held together (for
many years) with contact paper, following a run-in with a hot burner. I can't let go of it.
Since I rarely feel motivated to cook a whole turkey for two anymore, we often
go straight for crepes. This is a photo of the Turkey Crepes and Spinach
Crepes served with Fresh Orange and Cranberry Relish from last Thanksgiving.
potatoes, roasted green beans, and Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with Caramelized
Pistachios. Desserts aren't normally on our dinner menu, but if we have one,
it has to be good; good for us often includes chocolate...
chocolate puddles out when you cut into it and spreads on the plate. Sometimes we serve
with a little gelato; coconut in the photo, right. Plates are often licked, even by guests!
The left photo was taken pre-baking. I made them for one of Greg's trips back home from
NY and the heart spontaneously appeared after I added the batter to the ramekin!
How's that for cooking with love?