Finally, our first blog post!  For about a year I’ve been planning to start a food blog highlighting all our masterpieces… and it’s finally here!!  Welcome to Cooking with Jeff & Cristina!!  Benvenuti!

I’ve decided to start with Valentine’s Day.  Why go out to a crowded restaurant when your own kitchen can become your personal private restaurant?  I knew Jeff would serve up something special, but he (per usual) never fails to amaze me.

We began our feast with a small tasting of fresh olive fougasse, which is a type of French bread typically associated with Provence, but found (with variations) in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat.  He served it with a side of fig spread, which I must say figs are one of my favorite foods… fresh or dry.  And the best part, paired with a light, bubbly Prosecco.

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E poi (then), we moved on to the first course.  Insalata tri colore con pettini – Tri-Colored Salad with Seared Scallops and a Pomegranate Reduction Dressing.  Delicious!!  Did you know that it’s VERY easy to make your own salad dressings?  To make simple dressings like vinegrettes, just wisk together good EVOO with fresh fruit juices, such as lemons, limes, oranges… or our favorite BLOOD ORANGES.  Don’t forget to add a little salt & pepper.  And wisk away.  You can even add in a little crushed red pepper or other fresh herbs to change it up.  To make reduction dressings, or warm vinegrettes, you’re going to want to (obviously) reduce down the juice then add a little oil.  To make this Pomegranate Dressing, in a small nonstick pan pour in about a 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how much you want to make) and cook on medium-low for 5-8 minutes or until it’s reduced to about half or even a little more.  That way, all the extra water has been cooked off and your dressing is not super thin.  Then wisk in your EVOO and you’re good to go!  Don’t forget to serve these dressings WARM, not HOT.  You don’t want your nice greens to shrivel up.

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For the main course, we had grilled Fillet with a Port Wine & Mushroom Sauce with Roasted Asparagus and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano paired with a rustic Barolo.  You can find this less expensive Barolo at Stew’s Wine Shop (Serranobile Barolo- $27.99).

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For dessert, we had 4 famous Chocopologie (located in South Norwalk, CT) chocolate covered strawberries (we couldn’t fit in anything else!!!) http://www.knipschildt.net/info.html

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Next post we will have our recipes along with our pictures… stay tuned!

Cheers xo

Jeff & Cristina