Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Dinner Party

Cleveland weather was particularly nasty yesterday, crazy windy and raining. On an up note, this makes for a perfect night to stay in with friends and wine and of course a fabulous meal. Ruby and I pulled together the menu yesterday morning after yoga. We wanted something healthy and light, but that would be enjoyed by boys as well. We decided on Cooks Illustrated’s The Best Light Recipe for Chicken Parmesan served with multi-grain Ohio City Pasta in olive oil and garlic, wheat rolls and salad (courtesy of the Little Monster AKA Tree), and an Apple Tarte Tatin for dessert.

My Food Assignments: Ohio City Pasta and apples for the tarte. There was only one place to go. I ventured out in the wind and rain (which has since turned into snow and I just overheard someone say they are calling for 6-8 inches, nooo!) and headed to one of my favorite Cleveland spots, The Westside Market. Check out all the stuff I got for ~$20. Hidden in the back is a container of fresh basil that was only $1 - love!

Is that the largest bag of spinach you have ever seen?? Maybe the picture isn't doing this thing justice, its ginormous! It was $6. Goal this week: do not throw away rotten spinach. I will definitely get enough Iron and Vitamin K - perfect for upcoming 5k race and Twilight weekend. As if I hadn’t given myself enough of a challenge this week by buying the world’s largest bag of baby spinach, in my attempt to come up with spinach related foods I decided it would also be a good idea to try roasting beets. Why do I do these things to myself?

It is now time for me to profess my love for Ohio City Pasta (and Westside Market, but that’s a given for any foodie-type in Cleveland). Ohio City Pasta, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love that you cook in 2 minutes. I love that you are lovely and delicious and local. I love that I can buy you by the serving from a colorful array of flavors and shapes. I love you for making a simple and elegant addition to our dinner party.

Assignment #1: check. And now for the challenge, Assignment #2: my first Apple Tarte Tatin. I purchased 3 granny smith and 4 Macintosh apples from the market. Huge timesaver: when I made the crust for my last apple pie, I doubled the batch. So the crust was simply pulled from the freezer to thaw and roll out. I followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
I was very nervous about the boiling of caramel, and I let it go a minute or so too long. But it came out of the pan, and was enjoyed by all (even though slightly burnt in places). I think next time I can get this perfect. Let the feast begin!

Blaze – You cannot peer pressure me into making caramel corn. I am trying to be healthy and eat things like spinach and beets! I will consider making it as a party favor for the Twilight party this weekend, maybe!

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