Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday Dinner at Mom's

Going home for My Omnivore, as he is fond of reminding me, means going to Colorado Springs, not New York.

We arrived in April, My Omnivore assuring me that the weather would be great--"you'll love it!" Wait...where have I heard that before?

Part of the charm of coming home, if you can call it charm, is finding out what's changed and apparently alot-aLOT has changed in Colorado Springs which is now sprawled out vastly to the east and includes not only Petersen Air Force Base and Focus on the Family, but also two Whole Foods and a fine wine store in Colorado Liquor Outlet, where we picked up a couple of bottles of Magness Estates Merlot (a local winery that sources their grapes from the same place in Napa that Pahlmeyer does according to our helpful sales person) and the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier that I like so much. My Omnivore found himself confused and quite lost just getting to our hotel on roads that never existed in his childhood.

Some things remain in the same place though -- including the church of his childhood, Good Shepherd. It's not the small place he remembered though. New extensions, new windows, new buildings-- we wandered around the place with him exclaiming at every corner, much like I do in New York --"Wait that used to be the really good Glatt deli!!! And where is the Red Apple market??" Well, okay, so he didn't use those exact terms... but it was just like that...

One of the most beautiful new additions to the church are the stained glass windows created by Loy Jones, the father of one of Eric's childhood friends. When he and his wife Betty came over for dinner later, he brought along the pictures of the process from start to finish. I couldn't help thinking how marvelous it must be to be able to do something like that -- a craft that people have been practicing for centuries in much the same fashion.

The night we arrived the church was also putting on their "Living Last Supper" a reenactment of Dinner In The Upper Room. It seemed so fitting, seeing as we were already planning our own supper (though not the last one, by a long shot.)

One of our great aspirations was to make a nice dinner for My Omnivore's mom. So it was that on a snowy Palm Sunday (!! April? Yes, it's April...yes... April...), we imposed on Mom to pull out her slow cooker, picked up a couple of chickens at the local Whole Foods and made dinner for her and a few of the friends that Eric knew from childhood.

On the menu:
We picked a fabulous Colorado goat cheese from Boulder's Haystack Mountain called "Snowdrop," which I've had before, but never quite so fresh or quite so delightful.

Haystack also makes a number of other cheeses which I wish we'd had time to try. The Snowdrop has a firm dry center with a deliciously gooey, runny outside held together by a salty washed rind.

Speaking of delicious, I'm in love with Mom's slow cooker. Over the past few years, I've thought off and on about getting one, but now after hearing both Mom and My Omnivore's sister enthuse about how you can chuck your soup/stew/roast into the slow cooker, leave for work and come back eight hours later with dinner ready to go and the house smelling all fabulous--well, let's just say, I'm seriously thinking about some options.

Plus, the slow cooker doesn't have to take up valuable countertop-- you can plug it in anywhere--the bathroom, say-- and let it go about its business while you enjoy your kitchen counterspace.

Brussel Sprouts with Lemon & Parmagiano

20-25 Brussel sprouts (choose heads that are firm and tight)
4 slices of thick cut bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 lemon
about 1/2 cup grated Parmagiano-Reggiano or Pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and sort the Brussel sprouts removing any dead or dried out leaves, then slice into thin coins/ribbons, about 1/4" wide.

In a skillet or saute pan, cook the bacon over a medium heat until the bacon is cooked through (about 5 minutes) and some of the fat has rendered into the pan. Add the Brussels and lower the heat to medium low, stirring and cooking for about ten to fifteen minutes until the Brussels are softened. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the Brussels and add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the Brussels into a serving bowl and sprinkle about 1/4 cup of Parmagiano over the top. Serve with extra cheese on the side.

Rounding out the meal was the ubiquitous Tarte Tatin. My Omnivore has a habit of requesting this dessert at every meal we make. I roll my eyes, but make it for him, because, after all, it is a pretty good recipe.

We used Braeburns and Golden Delicious apples this time, and I'm happy to report, there wasn't a speck left over after the dinner.

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