If you’re a Facebook friend, you know from my posts and pictures that I’m blessed with an amazing boyfriend. Chances are, you’ve actually commented on this by now, and perhaps even gone so far as to tell me that the two of us make you throw up in your mouth, just a little; so no need for redundancy if you’ve had your say.
Anyhow, David is overwhelmingly thoughtful, creative and kind and likes to surprise me with lovely experiences, of which this past Saturday night was no exception. I worked a wedding that morning at my friend Yu Kai’s gallery, and as most weddings go, it was a ballbuster; with me arriving home some ten hours later; exhausted, battered from a random knee-capping by a unattended child, and stinking of stale food, mop water and Endive mini-van. Noticeably there is (or there should be) little confusion as to who is the “catch” in this relationship.
He had spent his day planning something showstopping for me, as evidenced by the scene on my terrace. Wow. And no, ladies and Dana, you can’t have him – he’s mine.
Not only was there a stunningly arranged table set up on the balcony outside, but he had planned such an incredible dinner, down to the most minute detail, starting with a glass of chilled Fume Blanc handed to me when I walked into the door. This was our first official meal al fresco at my new condo, and the weather (and sunset) couldn’t have been any more idyllic.The menu for the evening: Wine and Lemon Pan Sauteed Sea Scallops over Manchego Cheese Grits, with a Baby Spinach, Carrot Ribbon and Orange Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds and a Sesame and Citrus Vinaigrette, followed by my favorite, Caramel and Sea Salt Gelato.
Pan Seared Scallops
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp butter
3 tbsp minced shallot
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add to pan and saute 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and keep warm.
In same skillet, melt butter, add shallots and garlic. Saute 30 seconds. Add wine and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute more. Return scallops to pan and toss in lemon butter sauce to coat. Remove from heat and arrange over Manchego Cheese grits. Sprinkle with diced parsley and drizzle with pan juices and squeeze of fresh lemon.
Manchego Cheese Grits
1 cup of stone ground grits
1 cup of milk
2 cups of hot water
1 cup of half and half
1 tsp kosher salt
2 oz. finely grated manchego cheese
freshly ground pepper
In a heavy sauce pan, bring milk, water and half and half to boil over medium high heat. Slowly wisk in rinsed grits. Add 1 tsp. salt.
Turn heat down to medium low and stir constantly 2-3 minutes. Reduce to simmer and cook an additional 30 minutes, stirring frequently until grits achieve desired thickness.
Add manchego cheese and stir until completely incorporated. Turn off heat and stir in butter. Season to taste with ground pepper and serve immediately.
Spinach Salad with Carrot, Orange and Sesame
6 cups of spinach, washed and spun dry
2 medium carrots, peeled and shaved
2 medium oranges, peeled and supremed
1/2 tsp fine grated orange zest
2 scallions, diced
7 stp rice vinegar
1 tbsp minced shallot
3/4 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
Whisk together rice vinegar, minced shallot, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, salt, vegetable oil and sesame oil. Toss with spinach, shallots, oranges and carrot ribbons. Spinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
And of course, Dessert! Who could forget?!
Sea Salt and Caramel Gelato
Talenti Sea Salt and Caramel Gelato
I can’t begin to tell you how incredible it was. The food was spectacular, the early summer air was balmy with a light breeze, stars twinkled overhead and the city sparkled like a jewelry box in the distance. The food was paired with an excellent Pouilly Fuisse, and David rigged speakers on my MacBook, so we had ambient tunes as well. I was with my favorite person, so it couldn’t have been a more wonderful evening, except maybe for the two who weren’t invited and who made their unhappiness quite known.
Maybe next time we’ll do a “kid’s table” in the living room…