Yes, Valentine's Day has come and gone. While everything in the end turned out beautifully with yummies for all (see the beautiful box of San Francisco's own Michael Recchiuti chocolates my sweet hubby bought me plus a dozen red roses), it was touch & go for a while.... and I'm not referring to my post dinner activities!!!
First, the restaurant we were going to (Scott Howard) suddenly closed a little over a week ago to "rethink its concept". Sure! Needless to say, reservation cancelled.
But I didn't mind because I thought this would give me an opportunity to create some recipes for a lovely Valentine's Day dinner & post it on my blog. Yaaaay!!!
Come V-Day, I go out early in the morning to purchase my proteins for the meal.
Yours truly faced a major dilemma when she found that the dinner she had carefully plotted, planned and posted over a week ago could not be executed because of a dearth of pristinely fresh fish.
As the poet Burns says, "the best laid plans of men gang aft a-gley" (huh???..... those Scots certainly have a unique way of phrasing things)
Yep, things went awry.
"...In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed...."
Nope, those poets didn't mess around back then, they were tough, riding the tidal waves of fate not sitting on a comfy leather studio couch hawking their poems on Oprah.
Every fish market in town may have lousy snapper, wimpy atlantic halibut, jaundiced mahimahi, sickly-looking salmon fillets and dried up ahi ( it was right out of the Book of Job for Bay Area fishmongers yesterday) but would my rhyming homeys Bobby Burns & Billy Henley shriek, cry and tear clumps of their hair out in frustration?
That's why I look to the poets for comfort & inspiration.
They would look beyond this place of wrath and tears (which in my case was every fish counter in town) and come up with Plan B which is exactly what I did.
So, no salmon poke, no ahi carpaccio, macadamia crusted fish is histoire.... what did I have left?
Well, I still had the makings for my duo of cannelloni and chocolate-covered strawberries. The curried risotto was 86'ed since I didn't have a protein for it. It was just a matter of coming up with an appropriate appetizer to celebrate the romance of the day.
Well, what could be more luxurious & romantic than ossetra caviar with freshly made buckwheat blinis & a little creme fraiche?
Not low in fat, I grant you but I was desperate and thinking on the fly.
Whole Foods sells the Tsar Nicolai caviar & I used Tsar Nicolai's buckwheat blini mix which saved me the necessity of finding the buckwheat flour & sieving it with baking powder, etc.
Just whisk together a whole egg, a Tbsp. of melted butter that has cooled slightly, 1/2 cup of milk and slowly incorporate dry ingredients careful not to overwork the batter, let it rest for a few minutes, then cook silver dollar-sized (about 1-1/2 tablespoons of batter) dollops of batter in hot pan with butter and voila! The perfect foil for a dollop of creme fraiche, a 1/3 of ounce of caviar per blini & a squeeze of lemon. A little smoked salmon & chopped chives are also good on the blinis, if caviar isn't your thing, just make sure those blinis are served warm or room temperature not blisteringly hot.
Here's what it looked like:
Love cooking the blinis in my Le Creuset 10" saute pan, the best all around pan, bar none!!!
I've had it for 5 years now; it takes a licking and keeps on cooking.
Here are the accoutrements... ossetra to die for!
(Looks like I got in the way of this shot; my head casts a huge shadow.What could that mean, hmmmmm?)
This is what one serving looks like assembled
(lighting bad, flavor amazing!!)
My Dynamic Duo of Cannelloni in Lowfat Bechamel Sauce in its Le Creuset Gratin Dish. (Have I already mentioned how much I love their cookware?)
kinda makes you want to swoon...
ooops..... somebody catch me... I'm falling...
Betcha can't eat just one!!!
With profound thanks and gratitude to my sweet and loving hubby, who tolerates my nonsense & patiently waits while I create my everchanging menus, I dedicate this posting to Garrett, a paragon of patience & virtue and an inspiration to all who meet him!!!