Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sexy Food




That man is romancing me with food again. The seduction began early in the day with a text message that contained a photo of one long stem red rose draped across a white linen tablecloth. Getting cyber roses (I didn't even know such a thing was possible!) and a sweet note was a nice distraction in a pretty hectic day, but I didn't think much about it.

Later in the day he called me from the Hilltop Steak House Butcher Shop in Weymouth and asked me what he should get. I told him to buy whatever looked good to him and then asked if he would stop for milk and bread on the way home.

Well, he got more than those staples. Instead he came home with two brown paper bags filled with treats from Ring Brothers Marketplace in Dennis. I was on the phone with my friend Candy when he came in so I wasn’t really paying attention.

Undeterred by my disinterest, my hubby lifted each item out of the bag and held it up for me to see in a tantalizing manner reminiscent of one of “Barker’s Beauties” on “The Price is Right.” Gorgeous thick slabs of filet ($5.99 a pound!), lamb steaks with a cute little center bone, a bunch of asparagus, golden beets, a pomegranate he bounced in his hand to show it’s heft and weight (the heavier the sweeter). Then he put a blood orange and avocado on the counter and mouthed, “For tonight’s salad.” Thick herb encrusted foccacia bread followed.

He saved the best for last. Holding a bottle of wine like a sommelier for me to examine, I nodded my approval even though I was still too distracted by my phone call to notice the name on the label. But I was intrigued enough by his bounty to hang up quickly. A nice bottle of wine on a week night was unusual enough for me to take a closer look. I discovered that the wine was a blend of four native grapes from Sicily and the text on the label was a hoot. “Four native grapes of Sicily play the part of their most intimate nature.” Oh my. The name of the wine: “Fourplay.” (Bet you didn't notice it in the photo above either!)

That man continuously surprises me with his cleverness at word play – even after 18 years together. He regularly kicks my butt at Scrabble too. For a writer, there is nothing more irresistible.

We grooved together in the kitchen in a seamless way. Steve cut the ends off the asparagus and tossed the spears with olive oil, sea salt and cracked ground pepper while I did the same to the beets in preparation for roasting for tomorrow night’s veggie or salad (still undecided). He seasoned the steaks and hollowed out vine ripened tomatoes to stuff and bake while I made individually plated salads.

Dinner was beyond scrumptious. The filets were perfectly cooked and topped with sautéed baby bella mushrooms and a red wine reduction sauce. The baked tomatoes were yummy and the asparagus pleasingly crisp. The salad was a nice blend of interesting flavors with romaine, orange peppers, cukes, avacodo, blood oranges and thinly sliced red onions drizzled with Briana’s Poppy Seed dressing.

There's nothing like a little gourmet on a weeknight to spice things up!

The Recipe:

Baked Stuffed Tomatoes

2 large vine ripened tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove all water
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese, plus two tablespoons
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Cut a hole in the top of the tomato and using a spoon gently scoop out the interior, and reserve for another use. (Steve used it in the wine reduction sauce for the filets.) Add the olive oil to a skillet and cook shallots and garlic until just tender. Add the spinach, cheese and pepper. Stuff evenly into the two tomatoes. Top each tomato with 1 tablespoon of Romano cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for a half an hour or until tomato is tender, but still sturdy enough to stand.

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