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A week ago, I turned 26. With all of our traveling, we weren’t planning on doing anything special for my birthday. Then, on the drive home from the airport, we decided to have a last minute get-together with some friends. Nick and my sister sent some messages out and made some calls, and gathered together some friends to celebrate. Quite an impressive turnout for last minute on a Monday!
I wore the same white top that I wore on the airplane ride in the morning, and paired it with a knit skirt, dangly necklaces, and crochet Toms to keep it simple and laid back.
Of course we had to start with my absolute favorite chips, salsa, and guacamole.
For dinner, Nick manned the grill and we hung out on the deck. We even opened up a bottle of ’04 Leonetti that we’d been saving for a special occasion (it was totally worth it). There was a plate of delicious cheese.
And lots of good times with friends.
Then, a champagne toast, and dessert.
The highlight of the night was a dozen cupcakes! (Plus 3 gluten free!)
I love using leftovers to make something delicious. I was craving chicken parmesan, but wanted a version that was both low-carb and gluten free.
We had a leftover tomato base (tomatoes, salt, garlic, and olive oil) from making pizza as well as fresh mozzarella, so he made a very simple version. He used chicken breast, topped with the tomato base and a bit of oregano, and then put fresh mozzarella slices on top.
Baked at 325 until done (took about 30 minutes).
He served it with steamed broccoli.
Sometimes a simple dinner is exactly what you need….
Our farmers market has been full of delicious fruits and vegetables, so we had an extremely straightforward dinner of braised kale and salmon filets.
To make the kale (about 1 1/2 lbs, coarsely chopped), Nick used oil (~1/4C) and chicken stock (~3/4C), added salt and pepper to taste, and simmered covered in a saucepan until tender. Once tender, remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated. (about 10 minutes total)
The salmon was cooked sous-vide, and sprinkled with finishing salt to plate.
My sister’s boyfriend was visiting this weekend, so on Saturday night we had them both over and enjoyed a roof-tip dinner on our deck.
Rib-eye has become our favorite cut of steak to grill. The flavor is perfection, and the slightly fattier cut makes it perfect for grilling. The steaks are pretty massive, so they each serve 2.
Nick modified this recipe for domino potatoes from Bon Appetit to work on the grill. He used Yukon gold potatoes, and prepped them like the recipe by cutting them into rectangles and then slicing. He then put them in a foil pack with a bit of olive oil, butter, garlic, and rosemary.
They were on the grill for about an hour or so, and the steaks were cooked to rare and medium rare.
He plated the potatoes in rows, and topped with finishing salt.
Fantastic company, and incredible views.
I love schnitzel in all forms, but can never order it in restaurants since it uses breadcrumbs. Luckily, Nick decided to make me a gluten free version using gluten free breadcrumbs (found at our local co-op).
First, he took the pork chops and pounded them thin with a meat mallet.
Then, he coated them with egg, and a mixture of gluten free breadcrumbs with salt and oregano, and then fried them in peanut oil.
To make the asparagus, he first blanched them, and then sauteed them with red wine vinegar.
Finally, the mustard sauce is a blend of coarse grain mustard, olive oil, a little bit of salt, and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
We started hosting a monthly dinner club with friends, both as a way to share in great company and for Nick to practice cooking for more than just me!
I always love getting to use my charger plates!
The first menu was four courses with a salad course, soup course, main course, and dessert.
First, we started with raw asparagus salad with garlic confit vinaigrette.
Next, caramelized carrot soup.
Finally, for the main course, seared lamb lollipops with duck-fat glazed turnips.
And, for dessert, deconstructed watermelon mojito. Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the dessert, but Nick infused rum and simple syrup into the watermelon and plated with lime foam and crème de menthe spheres.