For a special dinner to mark our anniversary, we looked in Laura Arnold's Best Simple Suppers for Two, because there are two of us. There we found a recipe for Caprese Salad with Basil Pesto. We knew we would need to modify the recipe because it called for prepared pesto. We also thought it would be nice to use the pesto we prepared for the salad to make a pasta pesto.
In the end, the recipe for one dish had become merely a menu suggestion and shopping list for two dishes we already knew how to make. So we set off on a small shopping trip. We rarely go to the grocery together, but we decided to make an occasion of it and we visited Fieldstone Market in Marion with a short list. Because we already had pine nuts on hand, we just needed fresh mozzarella, basil, tomatoes (we remembered this place always has great ones), parmesan cheese, and fettuccine.
We returned to the small galley at Whaling House, where we each put together two nice, simple dishes. On a platter, we had mozz, tomatoes, a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil, and a sprinkling of dry basil. Pam blended some of that oil, fresh basil leaves, chopped garlic scapes and pine nuts until they made a paste. I combined them in a bowl with fettuccine, a small scoop of the water from cooking the fettuccine, some freshly shredded parm, and lemon zest. These combined well with a a baguette from Fieldstone and a Gewürztraminer from Westport Rivers. As we dined, Pam remembered to light the candle we first lit together 35 years ago at a church in Baltimore, and that we light on May 9 of each year. (And that I failed to include in this photo.)
Flashback for the next day: While we were in Fieldstone, Pam noticed a small, whole chicken and some fingerling potatoes. We bought both, with vague plans to prepare them in our upright chicken roaster -- a great little pan that we first wrote about in the 2011 Just Peachy post on this blog. (It has been featured many times since then, especially since we get roasters from our friends at Maribett Farm.
In the middle of Tuesday afternoon, I rinsed the chicken and removed the package of giblets from the middle. I glanced around the kitchen and decided to fill the central well of the pan with some margarita mix and tequila, which would moisten the inside as the bird roasted. I then applied some lime-infused olive oil, dry thyme and oregano, and a bit of salt. I placed the small potatoes around the base of the pan and roasted at 450 for 15 minutes before turning down to 300 for an hour. At the end of that time, my eyes and our Thermapen agreed that it needed just a bit more cooking, so I increased the heat to 425 for another 10 minutes. The result was a perfectly cooked, very tender and savory chicken.
|Simple chicken, without a recipe. The candle is not the one mentioned above;|
it is an "everyday" candle on a sun-moon-star candlestick that was the gift
of a generous colleague.
It paired well with Malbec, as most things do. A prefect start to our 36th year!