Rising to the Occaision

Gareth has decided he is now in competition with the chefs of Europe and is upping his game. Not that I'm complaining. And this is actually a logical conclusion on his part. Before I left for Milan, he asked that I pay particular attention to what I ate - the flavors, the textures, the different combinations of food. Which I did. He read my blog while I was away and then did a complete debriefing upon my return.

Then he cooked me pasta. The so-called fresh pasta from the dairy case at the grocery store. He asked me how it was, and I gave him a shrug and a "meh". Later he told me that I just kept moving it around on my plate and staring at it with kind of a mix between a frown and a sneer. And I thought I was being subtle about it.

Not one to back away from a challenge, he went to work in the kitchen.

He figured out how to make grocery store olives get that smooth taste and buttery texture like the olives I ate in Italy - rinse them in water, gently simmer them in apple juice, and then rinse them again. Who knew?

He also decided that we shall now shop at Wegman's even though our grocery bill will double. That way we can enjoy meat from their small but impressive game section, as well as a variety of European cheeses and an amazing selection of produce. Plus goat milk butter, creme fraiche, and other exotic items that are now within easy reach. It's a quality of life decision that I certainly will not argue with even if it takes from my shoe budget.

So, here are the highlights of the meals I had this week before he got pulled into homework and school and I got pulled into a software deployment.

PS - After this second trip to Milan, my next work trip is to Paris. I can't wait to see how he follows up on that one.

Seared duck breast on creamed green veggies with olive oil toast. Veggies are zucchini, celery, celeriac and leek

Pork with a pear compote and olives, asparagus and leek

Duck and shrimp in an herb cream sauce over previously acceptable grocery store  fettucini