Dinner, Grilling

The Date Night Inn

I took a deep breath, sighed a little, and was utterly content. It was dark, windy and rainy outside…but inside there was a warmth – a candle burning, its light flickering while the cool breeze from the open window cast shadows over the dimly lit living room. Sweet Z and I had just finished dinner on a date night in. Yesterday was the sort of day where you needed a little nap midday otherwise sleep was going to come very early. P.S.- date nights in do not have to be just for couples. (Remember, you are talking the QUEEN of making Joy the Baker’s Single Lady Pancakes with millions of variations?! I am an extremely lucky woman who gets to double the recipe now!) Though I am coupled, I also had a date night all for myself earlier this week, and I also had a girls night out! Single, coupled, with the girls, out with the guys…these nights are necessary. I always feel grounded, refocused and ready to move on…utterly content.

Beautiful Sky

Out of the corner of my eye something muted orange caught my eye. I glanced the window, amidst my dinner prep, and caught the most beautiful sunset. Dinner could wait, I thought, as I grabbed my camera and strolled around the yard snapping pictures quickly, blindly turning knobs and pressing buttons in a rush to capture the brilliant orange filled sky. Breathtaking.

I wandered back to the house and put together a simple dinner for one. The evening before me was filled with nothing but time to reorganize, prioritize and get settled again. I put together a bed of greens, topped with black beans, red tomato, baby mozzarella balls, artichoke hearts, orange cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of rice wine vinegar. Outside the sky slowly darkened as dusk settled in. My easy dinner was rounded out by a little ramekin of fish chowder…gently reheated in the microwave.

As the evening progressed I found myself leisurely reading through my favorite blogs. This is a luxury! When I came across Not Without Salt’s Tomato Toast recipe I knew I was about to head down a slippery slope. I could blame making it that very moment for the sake of blog research.  I could simply shrug my shoulders and say I deserve this treat tonight on my very own date night. Really, though, it was the simplicity of it all that captured me. I wanted to taste the flavors of a beautifully ripened tomato with some parmesan on a piece of grilled sourdough bread – that was the real reason. I was up and off the couch, practically running to the kitchen (which, if you have been in my house, is a rather small distance…yet I felt like Bolt running to the finish line)!

I followed the directions except I grilled the bread outside whereas her directions called for using a grill pan. Yes, there I was grilling sourdough bread, utterly content, music was playing and I was lost in my own world and mind, when the phone rang. My grandmother was calling to simply ask how I was. She was concerned, as grandmothers are, and wondered how things were going. After I filled her in on the events of the week we said goodnight. She is having a really good day, I thought, as I rubbed a bit of a garlic clove onto the hot, grilled bread. A tomato was grated (yes, grated!) into a bowl. I added in some salt, pepper, and a tiny sprinkle of sugar. Top the grilled bread with the tomato, add a sprinkle of cheese and that is a fabulous dinner for one…the second course.

Quick Tomato Jam on Toast

And, finally we come to the traditional date night in. Typically I would spend the scheduled day leisurely preparing a beautiful, well planned menu for two. But there was no real schedule yesterday. Saturday found me at a music meeting for a few hours and then lunching with Sweet Z. It was a laid back lunch, we sipped on cocktails as we watched the sky outside turn dark, windy until finally the sky was not able to contain the water any longer. We sipped away as we munched on sandwiches and chips. I opted for a turkey reuben and a mango margarita. Two stellar choices for a Saturday afternoon.

Sparkles or jewels?

The temperature dropped, and the rain continued fall as we made our way home. The winds kicked up and added an extra element of mystery to the evening. It was a proper date night after all…my Mom was away at a fancy dinner somewhere so we had the house to ourselves! (Dear Builder – You are doing great and I am so excited to see the renovated house!) For a moment I felt like a teenager again..until I realized I needed to make dinner. I am pretty sure teens don’t make date dinners do they? As I was wracking my brain for dinner options I had to keep in mind the power may go out. Ladies, what would you do?! I had no real plan and was flying by the seat of my yoga pants – which are perfectly acceptable for date night in. I got to work and quickly thawed out a ball of pizza dough I had tucked away in the freezer. The Saturday Night Grilled Flatbread special was assembled. It was worth grilling in the elements for this flatbread.

Saturday Special

Sitting down to a grilled flatbread, a glass of pinot noir, flickering candlelight, Eric Dolphy playing on the radio and your partner in crime sitting across from you and complimenting you on the flatbread special of the day is a perfectly lovely way to end the day.

Good morning, sunshine!

And what a better way to wake up in the morning than with your Mom making you french toast? I chuckled to myself then texted my bff asking if it was awkward or cool that my Mom was making us all french toast? She said something about Olde New England Courting and I smiled. Yes, my Mom is pretty cool. Today she even made Sweet Z his very own apple pie! Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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