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:
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.
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.
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.
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.