Anniversary Dinner
This year the fifth of September (our four year anniversary) was on Labor Day, so I decided that I would cook Romantic Dinner. This was only possible because I had spent six hours cleaning the kitchen on Saturday, and Katya had spent the same amount of time cleaning the living room. For the first time in ages we have a civilized place to cook, and a reasonable place to eat the things we've cooked! W00T!

I'm really, really proud of how the dinner turn out. I can cook, but I'm not as much of a "foodie" as Katya or Fuzzy are, so I often resort to not-very-interesting meals. Also, I get home from work around 6:45, and I fall to pieces if I haven't eaten by 9:00, so that means that I really can't get too fancy. Yesterday, however, I had the whole day to cook. To my surprise, it was really a lot easier than I thought. I ended up making much more food than we needed (as I thought I would), so this means that for the same amount of effort we could have a six person dinner party any time we like! Well, whenever I have three and a half hours to cook for it, that it.

So I spent two solid hours just preparing the food, and that was a luxury that I haven't had before. I really made all the difference. I chopped the onions, peeled the pears, cut the crackers into just the right shape, &c. I even measured out all of the spices into little dishes. Glorious!

So. First course was amuse-bouches: "Hot and Cold Prepared Tofu". This was baked tofu, marinated in a soy sauce / ketchup / vinegar / pepper marinade, served on a cracker with fresh basil, served warm. Those were good. The marinade was from a recipe, but the rest of it was my own design. Even better, however, were the cold tofu: boiled tofu (boiled for about half an hour), served on cucumber with Spicy Sauce and pear skin. The spicy sauce (entirely my own invention, thank you very much) was a Tuong Ot Toi (Vietnamese hot sauce) base, with powdered wasabi, mixed with PÍches Liqueur. This was very spicy, and it was brushed on the top of the tofu. The tofu was then strapped to the cucumber with strips of pear skin, and served chilled.

This was served with a Nigori Gensu Sake. I don't know much about wine in general, much less sake, but this was very nice. It was a lot sweeter than other sakes I've had.

The next course was Curried Carrot Soup with Coconut Milk. It was served with sourdough bread, and a garlic spread. I had roasted two bulbs of elephant garlic for half an hour, sealed up in tin foil along with a tablespoon of butter each and a whole bunch of thyme and rosemary. Turns out that I should have left them in the over even longer, but it was still really good with the bread and soup.

The next course was Rogan Josh. I've cooked this Indian curry before, and it always turns out really really well. I used chicken-style seitan this time, but I think I prefer the mock-duck instead. This course was served with a Barbera D'Asti, an Italian red wine. I went to Sam's Wines, this wine supermarket (like a CostCo, but only for wine), and told one of the people there that I didn't really like red wine, but that I needed something to go with curry. He suggested this, and I really liked it.

The final course was chilled fresh pear and skinned plum, and also crackers and Amazing Cheese. I'm not sure what the cheese was, exactly (I showed the person in the cheese section Sam's the bottle of dessert wine, and he recommended this cheese) but it was awesome. Some type of brie, but more interesting than standard brie. The fruit was good, but not incredible. I had sliced the plum into sections, and then planned to glue them back together with honey--I thought that after refrigerating the honey for a few hours it would hold together, but it did not. Still tasty, though.

The wine was amazing, certainly the best wine I've ever had. I really don't know much about wine, and my preferences are pretty unsophisticated. I like port, or really sweet dessert wine. This wine was a Muscato D'Asti, and it was phenomenal. It was really light, and sweet, and sparkly and wonderful. Katya could tell you more about it, using more descriptive language.