Archive for February 21st, 2013

Feeding romance

There are so many things one can do to keep romance alive for 30 years plus.   Of course, it is important to count your blessings on a daily basis.   I recently read an article in the AARP magazine that suggests that public displays of affection are good for your romance, as are frequent kisses and saying “I love you.”

These all seem pretty obvious to me.  I think it is important to make special efforts once in a while too, and as we hang out with a bunch of like minded individuals, we have established a tradition that every year around Valentine’s day the gentlemen get together, plan a sumptuous repast for the group, and then prepare it for us.

This year, it was suggested that we ought to dress up in our best, most sophisticated togs.   Jim immediately decided that he was going to wear his tuxedo, since it was going to have to be cleaned before our next cruise (in August) anyway.   Then he said, “I’m going to need an apron.”

I looked around, and did not find an apron I approved of, so I made him one.   Here are a couple of pictures taken on the day of the event (last Sunday) of Jim in the kitchen in his tuxedo and apron.   I think he looks rather fine.

Jim at the Stove (2)

Jim at the counter (2)

Jim was not the only one cooking, of course.   Dick and Cliff were busy too.

Dick using hand blender (2)

This was a rather amusing moment, as Cliff had never seen a stick blender in action before, and was quite taken with the tool.    What they are doing right that moment is blending the sherried roasted squash bisque prior to serving it.   It was accompanied by a cheesy grits with shrimp, which was our second course.

The first course was a Salade Niçoise, pictured below.

Nancy-Cliff-Jim-Ellie (2)

What we are drinking are French 75s, a cocktail that involves both gin and champagne.   I admit it sounds rather awful but I can tell you that  while I really detest gin I find this drink delightful.  (Recipe note:  when Jim makes this he uses our home made limoncello rather than the cointreau listed in the recipe.   It makes the drink look much paler and is quite delicious.)

Back to the kitchen the gentlemen went to prepare the third course, Twice baked goat cheese souffles.

Guys in the kitchen (2)-1

When they were done, Jim put them on the table, which was adorned with a quilted table topper I made a few weeks ago as a hostess gift.

Jim in tux setting table (2)

This is a recipe we acquired from Seabourn on our first cruise.   Positively wonderful and well worth the effort to make.  (For the record, the recipe as printed in that blog I linked to is NOT correct.   If you make it the way they tell you you will discover that the quantity of milk is incorrect.   You need about 75ml of milk for the souffle portion.   Also, the version we were given uses a garlic cream for the topping.)

We were having a quite wonderful time, enjoying the companionship of friends and some rather tasty wine. Following the goat cheese course, there was a lemon sorbet course to cleanse our palates for the last course:  Pad thai with scallops, tofu, and shrimp.   Excellent!

Ellie-Nancy-Liz (2)

Do we look like we feel special?   Because we certainly did!   Especially when the dessert course appeared.  (Yes I realize I have just written a series of sentence fragments.   Deal with it.)

Frozen nougat terrine with chocolate and raspberry sauces, in a special presentation.

Valentine terrines (2)

As if that wasn’t enough, Liz made a wonderful almond torte to top off the experience.   The chocolates on top were made by Dick.

Valentine Cake (2)

Now, after a wonderful afternoon enjoying food like that, how can your romance not be enlivened?

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