Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Clams, Chocolate and Celebration.

Happy Anniversary....

...to us.

Mr. sixtyone45 and I celebrated nine years of our matrimonial contract this week. Sometimes I don't know where the time goes, and other times I don't remember life before 'us'.  We were together about a half dozen years before we got married so its really been a long time now. The Big Ten is next year...I am already planning the trip. (sorry Little one, but it will be cookies and ice cream with worlds greatest grandparents that day days week?)

We celebrated with dinner in (prettttty much how we celebrate most things these days) and a shellfish feast. It is at times like this where I am not sure how best to share those great food experiences through this blog. The dinner was spectacular but I was just not inclined to photograph it. It was late (my goodness, nearly 8!), lighting was bad (so I looked great) and truthfully, I just wasn't that in to it. (too tired to use my index finger muscle to press a camera button is sa-ad)

BUT....if I had to pick a favorite thing we have eaten in the last six months, Saturday nights dinner wins hands down.

Dinner was 3 courses of shellfish, paired with two white wines.

The first, oysters on the half shell. A small bar of condiments including freshly shaved horseradish root, green relish I had canned that morning and of course, lemon wedges & Tabasco.

Quick notes here. I will never go back to prepared horseradish again - fresh off a rasp is the only way. A bit of green relish finely chopped with fresh cucumbers was super refreshing. And lemon wedges wrapped in cheesecloth means no seeds. Its the little stuff.

The second course was steamed king crab. That was it. No dips, no garlic, no oil, no butter. Just crab legs steamed in a medley of  Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock (the ONLY stock to use if you are not making your own. awesome clean ingrediant list) with onions, dill and fennel. 

The star of the meal was the final course. Two pots. One with mussels. The other clams.

The mussels pot was inspired from my favorite mussels dish at Carderos. The mussels are just filler to the divine bread-dippin' broth. We (he) recreated it without cream or milk. Again with the Kitchen Basics Seafood Stock,  fresh curry from the garden - never thought I would say that - and onions, apple fennel sausage, more fresh fennel, and Koko Brown beer...yes, coconut beer.  The clams were done with same stock, onions, fennel, dill and - more beer. This time it was Red Seal Ale.

We paired the first two courses with Spanish white blend and the final course with  heavier Italian white.

I wish I would have photographed it to share here, but sometimes the moments just have to be cherished and recalled from just the that...the moment.

The cakes have nothing to do with our anniversary. I made them in hopes of taking them to our neighbours for a bbq but I overcooked them. I know they would have been decadent and delicious, but alas...I am still not a baker. The misfortune was well received by the boys in the house who were forced to suffer through consumption of the over baked cylinders.

Even when over cooked...chocolate is still chocolate.

So happy anniversary hunney. You got me a mixer so....

... I made you a cake.

Individual Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Adapted from Sunset Magazine, Feb 2012

Makes 4 cakes

4 T. of unsalted butter
4 squares of high quality dark semi sweet chocolate
3 eggs plus 1 egg white
6 tsp of agave nectar
4 T. of natural peanut butter (or 4 T. of bourbon)
1 tsp. of salt
4 tsp. of flour

1.  Preheat oven to 375 and put a cookie sheet on the middle rack.
2.  Grease 4, 3/4 cup ramekins with 1 T. of the butter. Set aside.
3.  Put the remaining butter and chocolate squares in a double broiler or a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water and melt together. Let it cool just a few minutes.
4.  Beat the eggs, agave and peanut butter. Then stir in the chocolate mixture. Finally add the salt and flour until just combined. (don't overwork)
5.  Pour the batter into the ramekins and place in the oven. Bake 10-12 minutes for soft gooey center or slightly longer for more cake like texture.
6. When done, run a butter knife around the edges, invert and enjoy!

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