Three years ago today Jeff and I were driving back to Chicago following our Cincinnati wedding at Alms Park. The previous day we had said vows, danced, got sunburned (just me) and smiled for pictures. Now we were headed back home to hop on a plane to California. It was the start of a beautiful marriage. After we traveled all of San Francisco by foot, pedaled across the Golden Gate bridge, got drunk for 3 days straight on really awesome wine, and opted out of sleeping at a creepy horror movie house, I'd done a rough tally that we successfully evaded death about 12 times.
I'm not being dramatic. we almost died on our honeymoon. I'll save you some theatrics and just warn you never drive to Eureka no matter what the Chamber of Commerce website says; also, if you want to go to Mendocino, wait until you're 50 - you'll probably enjoy it more and definitely do NOT think it's a good idea to drive Highway 1 down the coastline back to San Francisco.
Please learn from our mistakes. There are portions of Highway 1 that have eroded away and the road just isn't there in one lane anymore. Your lane. They kindly warn you with a single orange cone, but if you miss the cone by chance, you and your lovely will be plummeting Thelma and Louise style into the Pacific. Also, it's not the best road to travel at night. It's dark. There aren't gas stations for miles - tens of miles... twenties of miles. Oh and no cell reception, so don't dare run out of gas. And there are deer. Lots of deer, flying out in front of your car on their way to the beach. Again - Thelma and Louise.
Thankfully, we survived Highway 1 along with a half dozen other flirtations with death and I took this as a great omen that our marriage was built to last.
So far we're doing pretty good. We've smoothly made it through buying an apartment in a Chicago seller's market and then selling it in a buyer's market. We made it through both of us finishing (almost finishing) our educations. We made it through a big move to a new city and a new life. We made it through pregnancy. Childbirth. And 10 months of Marlo.
Doesn't sound like much does it? It isn't. I know. But I have faith we could make it through tougher times if they arrive.
So to celebrate our greatness as a duo, we had our favorite fancy meal last night, Pesto Halibut Kebabs. I was absolutely shocked when I visited the butcher yesterday and saw that the halibut was running only $17.99/lb. Wha?! I'm used to paying about $4 more per pound for the fish. Apparently the recession has really done a number on the demand for fancy fish and the prices have plunged, well, at least at Joe's. So, I reccomend checking out the price of halibut where you live and feasting on it more often this summer. This is a really easy and quick way to prepare the fish. Turns out delicious every single time!
Pesto Halibut Kebabs
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 lb. Halibut skin removed and cut into 1-2 inch chunks
1 large red bell pepper cut into 1-2 inch squares
3 Tbsp. pesto
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt & pepper
If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 10-20 minutes so they won't burn in the oven. Preheat broiler.
Combine pesto and vinegar in large bowl. Lightly season fish chunks with salt and pepper. Add fish and pepper squares to pesto mixture and toss to evenly coat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Skewer fish and peppers, alternating so you begin and end with peppers. This amount makes about 4 kebabs with 4-5 pieces of fish per skewer.
Line kebabs in a baking dish coated with cooking spray and place under broiler for 8 minutes.
Serve to husband. See him smile.
See baby daughter look on with jealousy.
Jeff brought me home a bottle of Mumm Champagne (one of our favorite wineries from our honeymoon) and a bottle of Albarino - a wine we mutually love. Having a surprise dessert up my sleeve I opted to pop open the bubbly. I made these delicious Toffee Topped Brownies and dipped strawberries in the leftover ganache. It made for a lovely dessert with our Napa champagne.
Toffee Topped Brownie Bites
Adapted From Annie's Eats
For the brownies:
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For the ganache:
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Toffee bits (or coarsely chopped Heath Bars)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the unsweetened chocolate and butter. Cook and stir over medium-low heat just until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt, and whisk until combined. Stir in the flour until just incorporated. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each mini muffin cup.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until completely set. Allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Remove brownies from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the ganache, heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan over medium heat just until it simmers; remove from the heat. Add the bittersweet chocolate to the heated cream, let stand for 30 seconds, then whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well blended.
Gently dip the top of each brownie in the ganache and then sprinkle with toffee bits. Allow the glaze to set completely before serving.
He also surprised me with a pretty cool new cookbook called Local Flavors. It's all about cooking with goods from farmer's markets, which is just in time for Carmel's Farmer's Market season. Both of us are interested in trying new ingredients. Neither of us have a whole lot of experience with different greens like chard and kale. This book gives a lot of ideas on how to prepare these veggies. I'll be sure to let you know when I stumble upon something fabulous!