Four Month Anniversary Dinner

In December we celebrated being four months married with crab cakes, parmesan orzo, asparagus, and a chocolate beet cake! We're having so much fun with our monthly anniversary fancier-than-normal meals. In November we had spinach stuffed flank steak, in October we had butternut squash risotto, and in September we had a recreation of our reception buffet.

We're having a lot of our favorite fancier-than-normal meals and, even though we haven't repeated ourselves yet, the inevitable may be coming near. Here's a break down of the four month anniversary meal! And read below for the recipes.

     Entrée: Crab cakes, black pepper – parmesan orzo, sauteed asparagus
     Dessert: Chocolate beet cake
     Wine: I surprised Patrick with a bottle of Biltmore House Merlot; just like last Christmas

Crab Cakes from Food Network & Ellie Krieger
   Prep Time 30 min | Inactive Prep Time 30 min | Cook Time 20 min | Serves 4
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsps. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Dash hot sauce 
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 
1 scallion, including green top, finely chopped
1 lb. lump crab, picked over for cartilage 
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. salt Freshly ground black pepper
   Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
   In a medium bowl mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning and hot sauce. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in the crab, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Put the remaining bread crumbs in a shallow dish.
   Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape 1 mound into a round and coat in bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crab cake to form a patty about 1-inch high. Repeat to form the remaining crab cakes.
   Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Black Pepper and Parmesan Orzo from member recipe community
   Serves 6
1 1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta) 
½-cup chicken broth
¼-cup olive oil 2 tbsps. 
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter 
1 tbsp. Heavy Cream, or Milk
2 oz. Parmesan, grated fresh 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Basil leaves for garnish
   In a pot of boiling chicken stock, cook the orzo for 7 to 8 minutes, or until it just al dente, drain it in a sieve with a bowl under it to reserve the liquid. Drain the orzo well and in a separate bowl toss with 1/4 cup of the oil.
   In a small saucepan simmer the reserved liquid. Add black pepper, and Parmesan. Cook until the Parmesan is melted. Add the Orzo back into the cooking liquid, and stir well to make sure everything is mixed well. Add the butter and Cream. Adjust your seasonings

Sautéed Asparagus
A pretty simple preparation: sauteed trimmed asparagus in olive oil for a few minutes until crisp. Topped with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake from David Lebovitz; adapted from Tender by Nigel Slater
8 ounces (240 g) beets, unpeeled, rinsed and scrubbed free of dirt
7 ounces (200 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (70% cacao solids), chopped
1/4 cup (60 ml) hot espresso (or water)
7 ounces (200 g) butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 cup (135 g) flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (the darkest you can find, natural or Dutch-process)
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup (200 g) superfine sugar
   Butter an 8- or 8 1/2 inch (20 cm) spring form pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
   Boil the beets in salted water with the lid askew until they’re very tender when you stick a knife in them about 45 minutes. Drain then rinse the beets with cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels, cut the beets into chunks, and grind them in a food processor until you get a coarse, yet cohesive, puree. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a cheese grater.)
   Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
   In a large bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring as little as possible. Once it’s nearly all melted, turn off the heat (but leave the bowl over the warm water), pour in the hot espresso and stir it once. Then add the butter. Press the butter pieces into the chocolate and allow them to soften without stirring.
   Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder in a separate bowl.
   Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter is melted. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then stir the egg yolks together and briskly stir them into the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the beets.
   In a stand mixer, or by hand, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold the sugar into the whipped egg whites with a spatula, then fold them into the melted chocolate mixture, being careful not to over mix. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder.
   Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and reduce the heat of the oven to 325ºF (160ºC), and bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are just set but the center is still is just a bit wobbly. Do not over bake. Let cake cool completely, then remove it from the pan.

This particular evening is a good example of not letting "busy, everyday lives" prevent you from using a formal place setting and having a nice dinner with your significant other. Patrick had to do some work after dinner and since I had gotten behind with errands this day I made the chocolate beet cake after we had our meal. If you read all the way through the recipe I'm sure you saw that it is quite intense. This is probably the hardest cake I've ever made but it was worth it! Anyway after Patrick had finished working and the cake was ready to be served I had forgotten it was anniversary dinner night and not Merry Christmas dinner night and accidentally served the cake on the holiday dishes! 

Wonder what we will be having tonight?!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you are so daring with your selections. That cake does sound like quite an undertaking. I would like to taste it. Will you ever make another!?