European Dining in Your Own Home

European Dining in Your Own Home

It’s been 10 days and my husband and I have not given in to the temptations of dining out. But let me tell you – this restaurant diet is tough! Not only have we sacrificed our day-to-day treats but we’ve even turned down or cancelled lunch/dinner dates with friends – or at least post-poned them until after July 14.

But I guess it’s not all bad. We’re rediscovering the joys of cooking and trying to prepare each meal with a European flair -whether it’s by adding new ingredients, dining al fresco, or having an ethnic-inspired dish. 

There are still many things that I miss about going out to eat – the convenience, the fact that I don’t have to clean up after, and the setting of being somewhere other than my dining room.

But last night, my husband proved that we can have a European dining experience right in our own home. 

After working a very long day at the office, I was surprised with an already-made dinner waiting for me when I arrived home. But, not only was dinner already made, my husband had cleaned the house and set a very simple but romantic table setting. Take a peak:

A very simple but romantic tablescape for dinner

A very simple but romantic tablescape for dinner

Notice the red rose? He cut it fresh from our garden – what a nice touch! And yes, that is French citron pressé (fresh-squeezed lemonade) on the table.

As some of you know, my husband really enjoys food – it makes him happy to eat. And, like the French, he loves to try new dishes with off-the-cuff recipes as well as eating in courses.  So, in true French and Italian style, we started our wonderful meal with a bread and cheese course and a little olive oil for dipping. – yum! A few hours prior to dinner, he had stopped at the local bakery and picked up freshly-baked 12-grain bread. He paired this with fresh-sliced Swiss and white cheddar cheese.

Freshly-baked whole grain bread

Freshly-baked whole grain bread

Next, we dined on hot-off-the-grill chicken salad with my husband’s homemade Sesame Asian dressing (he makes all of his sauces and dressing homemade!).The salad was filled with red-leaf lettuce an tons of raw veggies like peppers, carrots, and cucumbers.

Grilled chicken salad with homemade Asian dressing

Grilled chicken salad with homemade Asian dressing

The Asian dressing was a great mix of flavors and really enhanced the taste of the veggies in the salad.

Scott’s Sesame Asian Dressing and Marinade (the recipe according to the man himself)

  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil (This can be reduced and add more olive oil)  – Trader Joe’s has a decent priced good sesame oil. 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • A good shake or two of garlic powder (maybe a 1/2 teaspoon)
  • A good shake or two of onion powder (maybe 1/4 teaspoon or less)
  • A good shake or two of dried basil (1/2 teaspoon)
  • A good shake or two of white pepper (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • A couple of twists of the sea salt hand grinder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • A good shake or two of dried cilantro (1/4 teaspoon)
  • A good shake or two of ground ginger (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)
Vigorously whisk or shake ingredients together until well mixed.
Use 2 to 4 tablespoons for your salad dressing, and use the rest as a marinade for grilled chicken or beef. A twist of orange or pineapple can be added for sweetness.
As you will notice, he makes up many of his recipes by adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that and they always manage to turn out so tasty -well, almost always. 

We topped off the dinner with freshly made Ghirardelli chocolate brownies – still warm from the oven!

That’s right, after 7 years, my husband remains a romantic at heart. But I still had to clean up the dishes.

Comments

  1. I’m glad you enjoyed dinner.

    Je t’aime

  2. Sounds Yummy! When are you going to invite Mom and Dad over for same!

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