Anniversary update

Thursday was our 15th wedding anniversary.  To celebrate I wanted to cook Keith a special dinner.  He loves scallops so I made Coquilles St. Jacques inspired by the recipe in Ina Garten’s newest Barefoot Contessa cookbook Make it Ahead.  I was in a bit of a hurry, since it was Thursday night so I wasn’t overly precise about my measurements and it was still delicious so don’t fret over quantities.  The sauce is so good that a roll or French bread to dip into it is really worth the calories!

Coquilles St. Jacques (serves 2)

  • 3 TB butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 TB flour
  • 2/3 cup of seafood stock
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 2 – 3 shallots, minced
  • 1 package cremini mushrooms, cleaned (throw away stems) and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 1/3 cup panko
  • 2 TB minced parsley
  • 1/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 3/4 lbs scallops, rinsed, dried and cut in quarters

Preheat oven to 400.

Melt 2 TB butter over medium heat and whisk in flour, stirring constantly.  Slowly add seafood stock, whisking as you go.  Then add half and half and curry powder.  Stir over low heat.  Cream sauce should be thick but if it gets too thick, add more liquid (either seafood stock or half and half.)

(You can either do the next step concurrently with the first step if you are pressed for time like I was or do them separately.)  Melt remaining TB of butter and about 1 TB olive oil in another pan.  Saute scallops over medium heat until soft – about 3 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook  for about 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add Cognac and increase heat so the alcohol cooks off.  Reduce heat and combine with cream sauce.  Add scallops to mixture, stir well to combine and divide among gratin dishes.

Mix panko, parsley and cheese in a small bowl and pour in about 1 TB of olive oil.  Sprinkle mixture evenly on top of gratins and bake for 20 minutes until bubbly.  Serve hot.

Ina says you can prepare the gratins ahead and refrigerate them and bake right before dinner.  Great dinner party meal!  Look how pretty it looks!

Anniversary dinner!

Anniversary dinner!

We continued the celebration last night by taking Samantha to The Milton Inn.  We hadn’t been there in years.  It is a beautiful old building and it was already decorated for Christmas.  Samantha had on a pretty new dress and looked quite sophisticated for 8.  She had a cheese plate appetizer and then cream of crab soup for dinner, followed by a trio of sorbets.  Keith had a fabulous chicken liver pate followed by Blackened Catfish Étouffée.  I started with beef tartar and then had the salmon in macadamia nut crust.  It was a lovely meal and we were so proud of how well Samantha behaved.  What a fun way to celebrate as a family and what a lovely restaurant for a special occasion.