Valentine’s Dinner, Part 2 was not the indulgent night out at a top restaurant in Chicago like Part 1, but it was definitely indulgent food & taste wise. Mr. K’s and my favorite cookbooks How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, provided us with recipes for all components of our dinner. (Minus the wine, but the day I make my own wine – well, its not in my near future.)
On the menu Saturday night?
Braised Artichoke with Mustard Seed
Rainbow Swish Chard with Sahllots & Tangerine
Braised Lamb Chops
First up, Braised Artichoke with Mustard Seed.
Mr. K and I started peeling the leaves off of the two artichoke he had picked up from Whole Paycheck. As we were peeling, his started to look more and more like an artichoke…and mine started to look more and more like…a strange, freaky foreign plant.
In the end, we had to throw out mine because the spikes were cutting my hands, and it looked nothing like an artichoke, and we didn’t know what to do with it. It was kind of sad, but we also didn’t want to ingest thorns… But we got to use the other one.
After cutting out the hearts, Mr. K boiled the artichokes in hot water for a few minutes before dropping them into a bucket of ice. He then proceeded to pan-braise them in olive oil with garlic and mustard seed.
Smelled sooooo good.
Next up was the Rainbow Swiss Chard with Shallots & Tangerines.
First we chopped up the shallots, tangerine, cut the stem out of the Swiss chard and then sliced the leaves into ribbons & the stems.
We then caramelized the shallots and tangerine in a pan with olive oil & cane sugar before adding the stems, all over medium heat. We then added the Swiss chard ribbons, turned off the stove and covered for about five minutes before stirring and covering for another five minutes.
I snuck a few bites from the pan. I would’ve never thought to put tangerines with shallots and sugar and Swiss chard, but ladies and gentlemen, if you didn’t already know it: Mark Bittman is a genius. Wow, it was quite the mixture.
Last on the menu was the braised lamb chops. This was really simple. Lamb chops, salt, pepper, broil about 5 minutes each side in a hot broiler. Done.
All together now:
We enjoyed our dinner with some Fiction wine. It was a delicious meal (of course I’m a bit biased by the fact we made it ourselves), but I loved the pairing of the lamb chops with the Swiss chard. I love me some lamb chops. And the artichoke was delicious. And now I want artichoke with mustard seeds every night. Mmmmmm.
After dinner, we got dressed and headed to the Lyric Opera to see Girl & the Golden West, a Puccini opera. I’m a lucky gal, as Mr. K is a season ticket holder. Unfortunately since I currently live 2000 miles away, he’s had to take other ‘dates’ to the opera this season, but I was glad I finally got the chance to go to one with him – and for our Part 2 of Valentine’s Day.
Dressed up for the opera!
Post opera we had a night cap at Hackney’s, one of my favorite hearty food restaurants in Chicago. I had a Two Hearted, and my life was complete (Bell’s Two Hearted is my favorite beer, and I can’t get it in Cali ).
I hope you all had a wonderful day of love – and friendship (in South American countries today is ‘la dia de la amistad’ – or ‘the day of friendship’)! So, happy friendship day to you all!