The evening started out unlike any other evening… it tuned all senses in to full submission: Mouth-watering, poignant flavors marrying to form a most exotic reunion; Creamy, dark chocolate, with a lavish portion of raspberry, cascading like hot lava flowing from a volcano; Lingering aromas that could turn a body into putty before a single flame was ever lit. That is how our Valentine’s dinner party for two began at the Dailey Bistro.
It was a mutual agreement that my husband, John, and I would stay home this Valentines and make a “special” dinner together for the two of us. John knows all too well that I do not like to share my kitchen. It is my domain. When I’m preparing meals, I am creating art and do not like to be disturbed when I’m in my studio whipping together masterpieces. So, for both of us this was an exciting activity to share with one another. He knew that he was being invited into a sacred place.
Two weeks prior to this momentous day, I prepared the menu for the evenings eminent event. John personally knows a famous chef in Springfield, Mo. Upon a more recent visit to a posh eatery where this executive chef preformed his magic, John ordered one of his favorite entrées and asked if we could have the recipe: Sherry- Vinegar Chicken w/ Wild Rice Pancakes. John embarrassed me a bit bragging to the chef about my skills of the culinary arts. This “food genius” had been taught the art of food at The Culinary Institute of America. No matter. He was humble and was happy to give it up to an old friend so that his wife, me, could have a go at forming this piece of art.
I had never heard of such a dish so, I shied away from ordering it. When it was delivered to our table, the aromas set my senses whirling like a spinning pin wheel. My pupils dilated and my mouth started watering. Just the smell alone was intoxicating. I had to try it! So, John gave me a generous bite of his tantalizing dish. Oh, my! That was the best chicken entrée I had ever tasted. I pouted and salivated as I watched John indulge in all that splendor. But, I wasn’t totally amiss. I had the recipe!
I had thought about preparing that amazing dish ever since, but have been waiting for the right time. So, I knew without a doubt that Valentines was the “right” time to show off my culinary skills by creating that masterpiece. Also, I had to plan a dessert that would compliment such a work-of-art. What would be both pleasing to one’s eyes and stomach, as well as, easily prepared? Oh, my dilemma with having so many choices. I gave it a lot of careful thought. It was settled… Chocolate-Raspberry Cake it was, of course! Can you see the chocolate ganache cascading down and around the creamy-dreamy cake?
Let’s not forget color! I had to add some color to the entree so, I prepared green beans w/ slivered almonds to accompany this unforgettable meal. The beverage of choice to complete this grande dinner: Brut Champagne. I’ll have a glass of bubbly, thank you.
Needless to say, John and I worked well together in my “Studio of Good Eats.” We tuned into some slow jazz music that set a nice tone as we swayed to the rhythm of our pleasurable culinary partnership. He made the Wild Rice Pancakes on one side of the stove while I made the Sherry-Vinegar Chicken on the other side. We only rubbed elbows if we wanted. (I recommend you do take time for that.) I made the Chocolate Raspberry Cake before we started the entrée so, there was no interference there. It was quite lovely… Heating up the kitchen is more fun and romantic than it sounds. Yeah, baby!
After warming things up in the kitchen, we didn’t sat down right away and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We had to take photos so that I could share this fabulous, elegant meal with all my readers, like you. Well, the light was not cooperating with us. We grew tired of fussing with John’s DLSR camera, as our meal cooled down, and pulled out a real camera. His iPhone camera! Aim. Focus. Shoot. 1-2-3, that easy. Then, and only then, were we satisfied enough with photos that we could finally, sit down, relax and enjoy the work-of-art before us that our own hands created. Boy, was it worth every bit of planning, time and preparation that went into it. Superb!
*Dear Readers, without further adieu, here are the recipes: Sherry-Vinegar Chicken w/ Wild Rice Pancakes (don’t let the name scare you. It’s not complicated to make, at all) and Chocolate-Raspberry Cake (super easy).
Sherry-Vinegar Chicken: Click on link for recipes