Monday, January 31, 2011

My Blog Bad

We had a nice, low key-ish weekend.

Friday night we went for drinks & dinner at Beauty Shop and Do, respectively, with a fun couple who we haven't had all that much one on one time with, of late.  I'm still not 100% on Do (a sort of trendy sushi place in the cute, artsy neighborhood down the street from us) - but it was a fun night.  And once the huge crowd in the restaurant cleared out, my enjoyment of the atmosphere greatly improved.

Saturday we ran ~100 errands during the day and then stayed in that night.

And Sunday night, we had a fun birthday dinner with Jonathan's parents.  This is where "my blog bad" comes in because I had full intentions of photographing our entire delicious meal so I could share.  But I didn't even take one picture.  Boo.  You'll have to take my much more boring than a picture word for it...

When planning the meal, Jonathan wanted to cook lamb.  And since mint is a common paring with lamb, everything was sort of centered around mint & lemon.

1st Course: French onion soup (complete with croutons & melted gruyere on top)

I love French onion soup.  And I'd never made it before.  But after watching a cooking show a couple weekends ago where the cook made it, I realized it's easy enough, and would be the perfect amount of elegance (yet still totally casual) for our dinner party with his parents.  It was a big hit.  I used the slow cooker, which was perfect when cooking a big meal, because we didn't really have to worry about it and it didn't take up any oven space.

Main Course: Braised lamb shanks, with mint & walnut pesto; quinoa with olive oil, lemon, mint, and italian parsley

The lamb was prepared with port, lemon zest & juice, rosemary, and garlic.  Jonathan cooked it "low & slow" in our big roasting pan in the oven.  I wanted to make some kind of mint sauce to go with the lamb; and a pesto seemed about right.  So I went with this one that was a mix of fresh mint and Italian parsley, and then used walnuts as the nut (which added a lovely flavor that was unique from normal pesto).  My father in law loves quinoa, so I went with this simple vinaigrette and tossed it with some of the herbs in the pesto.

Dessert: Toffee cookie bars with chocolate mascarpone sauce; vanilla gelato

I saw Giada make these last weekend when I was watching cooking shows before church.  They looked friggin awesome, but I sort of brushed the idea of making them off because I had no need for a decadent dessert.  Then I remembered Charlie's birthday!  So we did away with a traditional cake and instead served these with gelato.

The base is a sugar cookie mixed with crunched up Skor bars (chocolate-covered toffee).  On top of that is a layer of chocolaty goodness (made by melting a cup of chocolate chips and mixing it with a cup of mascarpone cheese).  And then it's all topped with chopped walnuts and more chopped Skor bars.  Make these.  Just do it.

It was a pretty awesome dinner.  And on that note, I need my knee to heal properly so I can run about 20 miles to burn off all the calories!

Hope you guys had good weekends, too!


Sarah said...

Yum! I just ate breakfast and reading about that lovely dinner just made me so hungry.

LB said...

Holy crap, that is a serious meal. Sounds delicious!!

katie said...


Claire said...

That sounds excellent. And, man, do I love pesto. It's so versatile! And you can turn virtually anything into it.