April 20, 2011

A Mid-Week Birthday Dinner for My Husband {Naptime Entertaining}

Tomato Zucchini The Occasion: Husband’s 30-something dinner, served mid-week on a school day.

Menu: Roasted Zucchini with Tomato & Burrata, Grilled Steak with Smoky Blue Cheese Sauce, Parmesan Couscous, Citrusy Angel Food Cake with Dulce de Leche and Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Rasblini (Raspberry Champagne Cocktail)

Attendees: Party of 3!

Naptime Goals: Make Blue Cheese Sauce, season Steak, bake Angel Food Cake, make Cinnamon Whipped Cream, make Raspberry Puree.

It is pretty rare that my husband and I entertain mid-week. Generally my husband works late and it is really only in the dog days of August that he is home at a decent hour to have dinner with friends. However, we will happily break our regular dinner routine and do some mid-week entertaining for each other on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Even if it means eating later in the evening, we think it is nice to serve up a special meal and compose a happy toast on these occasions. For my husband’s birthday this week I decided to make a few of his favorite dishes and have them ready to eat when he walked in the door around seven o’clock. I chose dishes that were ideal for making during naptime then pulling together right before we were ready to eat.

I am going to write about the dessert tomorrow so we’ll just leave it that I baked the cake during naptime, whipped the cream for the topping, then left them both alone for the afternoon. For our dinner I decided to grill some steaks, his favorite, and top them with a cool smoky blue cheese dressing. To make them ahead I whipped together the blue cheese dressing, arranged the steaks in their marinade, and left everything in the fridge until dinner.

For the appetizer I wanted to recreate a favorite dish from one of our local restaurants, a room temperature plate of roasted zucchini strips topped with slices of fresh tomato and a pocket of burrata, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I should note that both of us are addicted to burrata so I knew this would be a hit even if I served it on an old shoe, but I really wanted to compose it the way we’d seen it before. During naptime I roasted the zucchini and then let it cool all afternoon. Then I had the tomato slice and ready to go for assembly when he arrived.

The beverage part of this meal was a little bit tricky. My husband likes traditional cocktails like G&T’s, but I prefer lighter fare like wine and champagne. At our wedding we had Cipriani-style bellinis made with fresh peach puree so for this meal I decided to make bellinis with the remaining fresh raspberries I had in the freezer from last summer. It would be a sweet, fruity drink for sure, but I hoped the nostalgia of toasting with bellini-style sips would outweigh the absence of olives and swizzle sticks. To make the raspberry puree I let my blender do the work, then I pushed it through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any seeds and hard bits. I kept this chilling with the champagne for the afternoon.

When my husband walked in the door after work I stirred together our drinks, toasted to his birthday and assembled the burrata platter. While he played Thomas with our daughter I grilled up the steaks, steamed the couscous and set the table for a delicious birthday dinner.

Recipe

Roasted Zucchini with Tomato & Burrata

Ingredients

large zucchini, cut into ¼ inch this strips (about 3 or 4 strips)
1 large tomato, cut into 3 or 4 slices
1 pouch Burrata cheese (fresh Ricotta or Mozzarella can be substituted)
tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1 pinch sea salt

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and toss them with olive oil. Roast the zucchini for about 10 minutes, or until the edges turned brown and the zucchini turns soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2. To assemble the platter place the zucchini strips on a large plate and top them with the tomato slices. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and top them with the burrata. Sprinkle the sea salt over the plate and cut the burrata open only right before you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Fresh torn basil leaves would be an excellent addition to this dish. Fresh ricotta or mozzarella are excellent substitutes for this dish.

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes cook time, 5 minutes assembly

Naptime Reviews

Devoured in 5 minutes flat!

 

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