Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Anniversary Round 2 (last post about it I promise)

Okay, I might be overdoing the First Anniversary posts but I promise this is the last one.  We'll call this First Anniversary Round 2.

We didnt end up going to Spice Island, as we had originally planned.  We do mean to go back (because their food is fantastic) but decided to spend our first anniversary in our own home, making dinner together.

We did a play on a dinner that was always Gina's fav growing up, and one I had never had, vegetarian or otherwise:  Chicken Piccata.

Gina is really responsible for putting the dinner together - and oh, BTW, she is going to be posting on this blog too now.  I decided that I guessed it was okay...

Anyway, my responsibility was more running to Giant Eagle after work to pick up what ingredients we didnt have.  I chose the Giant Eagle in Kennedy rather than Shop and Save (even though the latter is kinder to our bank account) simply because Giant Eagle, though pricier, carries certain things that we needed that Shop and Save does not usually carry.

Piccata is an Italian method of cooking in which a "meat" is sliced, coated, sauteed and then served in a sauce sometimes over a starch (we used pasta, as that is what Gina's mom used to do.)

Since the meal is typically prepared with Chicken that is sliced, floured, and then browned in butter and olive oil - we chose to use these bad boys since they were pretty much already made (we come from an impatient generation), and they were delicious as a fake chicken goes:

 - as a side bar, I didnt check but I am pretty sure these are not vegan, just in case anyone reading this may want to know.

Gina could tell you more about the for real preparation - when I had arrived back home she already had things going.  I did some prep work (I have this weird love for slicing up garlic and shallots.), and I got put in charge of adding the capers and brine juice because I think the words "brine juice" as a combination kind of turns Gina off.  Oh, and I think I measured out a healthy portion of lemon juice and white wine for the sauce too and was also proudly in charge of throwing in what the recipe described as a "generous pinch" of rosemary.  I think I generously pinched rosemary pretty sufficiently.

Here is a picture of the amazingly delicious sauce with the "chicken" simmering near completion:


In the mean time, we broke out the fancy dinner plates we got for our wedding but had yet to use, and when the amazing smelling concoction was done, we set it up like so:

This tasted as amazing, if not more so, than it looked:

 The greens are arugula, which I hadnt really given much thought to before this meal but really fell in love with.  A couple nights later I had an arugula salad after work to tide me over until dinner and they are really flavorful leaves, even just by themselves with some apple cider vinegar.  They have this great peppery flavor.

Anywho - we ate this delicious meal and I have to be honest, I'm actually really glad we didn't go to Spice Island.  Making dinner together was really fun and we had, I think, more of a chance to reflect on the year that we just experienced.

So we toasted it:

Gina's mom then brought over the top of our wedding cake which had been frozen all year:

And the tradition was kept through us too.

As a final commemoration of the first year we made it through - my parent's were amazingly kind enough to book us a room at Bedford Springs in Beford PA.  It is this really cool hotel founded in 1806 by John Anderson and was originally a mainstay for seekers of the ground's mineral springs.

We arrived in Bedford Saturday morning, and did a little shopping and a wine tasting.  I kind of fell in love with this wine:

While I'm not typically an East Coast wine kind of guy - these wine's didn't have that super sweet taste I have come to expect from East Coast wines.  I'm definitely not a wine snob, my method is cheapest and biggest at the state store - but these were a nice treat.

I did some walking around the grounds and saw some of the mineral springs:

And then stumbled across this weird clearing - like a crater - filled with very old looking broken bottles:

I have no idea what it meant.  I mean, the crater was FILLED with them.

Anyway, we had a really great time.  We had dinner at one of the hotel's restaurants called 1796 which is most generally a chop house with a menu consisting pretty much entirely of meat and sea food, but they were very accommodating - to the point were the waiter pretty much said:  "We can make whatever you want."

They had, amazingly, tempeh on hand and created this really good concoction of tempeh, pasta, and pita:

We felt super classy.

The hotel learned that we were there celebrating our anniversary and gave us this complimentary tray of chocolate covered strawberries and berries:

And to round off our weekend of living like royalty, we ordered room service this morning:

We felt good and pampered.

So now we are back home, getting ready to return to the work week.  I have been hugely craving Indian food recently but we didnt feel like jumping in the car again after the car ride back from Bedford this morning.  So I decided to cater to my craving by making my own Indian feast.  Gina has a bunch of cookbooks from Isa Chandra Moskowitz (of The Post Punk Kitchen fame), and in one of them - Appetite for Reduction - I found Isa's recipe for 2nd Ave. Korma (page 226).  I even found some frozen naan at Giant Eagle, along with some basmati rice.  It was pretty damn good, I have to say - and it looked a little something like this:

So that is my final post about Anniversary #1.  We had a really great time celebrating.


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