Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dinner for two


Yesterday was my parent's anniversary and of-course neither of them had planned anything. I decided i would make them a romantic dinner for two in our home. I bought sixty candles and lit them all over our living room. I set a small card table in a lace table cloth with wine glasses, dishes, and silverware. I made a play list of John Denver, Michael Buble, and Bonnie Raitt. 

  Dinner For Two Menu
Bruschetta on a French Baguette
Asparagus Fries with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Main course: 
Garlic Basil Pasta in Tomato Basil Sauce, 
White Wine Chicken-breast(Mushrooms & Onions), 
Broiled yellow & green zucchini
Berry Tarts 
Tea & Coffee

The Asparagus Fries were perfectly crispy- i covered them in a lime, egg and flour batter and then dipped them in Panko. When the oil reached 375 degrees i put them in for three minutes. The Smoked Paprika Aioli was the perfect dip for this appetizer-creamy and smokey. For the main course my mom had wanted chicken breast and i was nervous it would be dry. I made a white wine reduction by adding flour to the wine and slowly let it thicken on the stove. the crimini mushrooms and the Spanish onion were extremely flavorful and everything just came together really well, i poured some in a pan, put the chicken breasts in and poured the rest on top while i let it bake in the oven. This is a great recipe for keeping chicken breast really juicy. For dessert, which was my favorite part, i made a graham cracker crust, a chocolate sauce and while it was still warm put on raspberries and blackberries. When they chilled i popped them out of their tart shapes...very easy. They were perfectly rich and great with a cup of tea. 

By John Ash

For the aïoli 
4 large cloves garlic, unpeeled 
2/3 cup mayonnaise 
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
1 tsp. smoked paprika 
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice, more to taste 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
For the asparagus fries 
3 cups vegetable oil 
2 large eggs, beaten 
1 medium lime, juiced 
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
1 cup panko 
1 lb. thick asparagus spears, trimmed, peeled, and halved crosswise 

Make the aïoli

Put the garlic in a small saucepan, add cold water to cover by least 1/2 inch, and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water boils, drain and repeat the process once more. Rinse the garlic with cold water to cool and then peel and mince the cloves.

In a medium bowl, whisk the poached garlic with the mayonnaise, olive oil, smoked paprika, and lemon juice until smooth. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to meld the flavors.
Make the asparagus friesIn a 3-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the lime juice and 2 Tbs. water.

Make the asparagus fries
* Cut off hard ends of asparagus, and be sure to shave them with a  peeler first.
In a 3-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the oil over medium-high heat to 375°F.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with the lime juice and 2 Tbs. water.

Put the flour on a small plate and season generously with salt and pepper. Put the panko on another small plate. Dredge the asparagus in the flour and shake off any excess. Dip the asparagus in the egg mixture and then the panko to coat. Working in batches, fry the asparagus until golden-brown, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly. Sprinkle with salt and serve with the smoked paprika aïoli.