Monday, February 5, 2007

Sudden company for dinner

My husband normally has a photography class on Monday nights, but they're taking a break this week. I wanted to celebrate a little extra time with him by making a meal that's more time-consuming than my usual weeknight meals. That's actually pretty funny, since the class ends next week, but oh well!

I also wanted to get in a good, long walk today, as I missed one Sunday. This morning, I called one of my friends who moved to town this week, and she agreed to walk around the park with me while pushing her baby in a stroller.

Work ran late--I had one of those days where nothing goes quite right--and I got home a bit late. That meant the sun was beginning to make its descent when I arrived home. I walked up the road to meet my friend, and she, too, was running behind. When she was ready to go, her 15-month-old child was all bundled up, with a blanket doubled over him to boot. It was a cold afternoon with a brisk, chilling wind. We headed to the park, where I took over pushing the stroller.

We didn't take as long a walk as I normally would; my friend--who's never lost her baby weight, much to her chagrin--was quickly out of breath, and I wasn't sure how long we could stay out without the cold getting to the baby. But pushing his stroller was enough to push me into a light sweat, as he weighs 30 pounds and a good bit of our walk was uphill. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while my breathing grew more labored, I have been walking enough to be far less winded than I would have been a month ago.

We headed back to my apartment, where my husband watched the baby while I cooked dinner and my friend searched for childcare with our internet connection.

I chopped into bite-size pieces a turnip, two rutabagas, three fingerling sweet potatoes, and an apple. I tossed them all together with a bit of olive oil, some salt, a teaspoon of sugar, and a good bit of dried rosemary, and I spread them on a pan I had sprayed with cooking spray. I roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. They were very tasty; the slightly bitter taste of the turnip and rutabagas mixed well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and apple. The rosemary tied the flavors together.

My friend's husband arrived at our house as well, off at last from a late day at his job.

I tried making a recipe for brussel sprouts with a lemon/milk sauce. They were okay but not great; with some tinkering and some nuts, I might really like the recipe, but . . . yeah.

About this time, after asking me if it was okay, my husband asked the couple if they'd like to stay for dinner. I wasn't sure we had quite enough food to go around, so I mentally started figuring out what we could serve for dessert to round out the meal.

Then I made a dish of chickpeas with paprika; we had some previously that were roasted with paprika, but I couldn't remember at first how I'd cooked them before, so I ended up doing them on the stove-top. They weren't nearly as good as roasting them had been.

So I was serving my friends and my husband roasted veggies that would be good but very simple, chickpeas I didn't much care for, and brussel sprouts that were only okay. Dessert loomed larger in my mind as a way to make up for the rest of the meal.

We had, yesterday, thawed some eggnog quick bread that had been in our freezer since Christmas, so I decided to make a sauce to go with that. I tossed some frozen organic raspberries, frozen organic blueberries, rum, sugar, a tablespoon of butter, and a little raspberry syrup in a pot together. I let it defrost and then simmer on low heat while we ate dinner. Then I tossed in some arrowroot powder to thicken it and served it over slices of the quick bread. Mmm delicious--finally a part of the meal I was proud to present. "That looks so pretty I don't even want to eat it," my friend commented. That's what I'm going for when I cook for company.

2 comments:

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I'm Fat said...

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I saw a couple of posts down where you made the salad with the edible flowers. Beautiful and delicious!